Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunset on a Lake

I don't have mountains or oceans around anymore, but was still able to enjoy a fun sunset this past weekend. I thought you might enjoy seeing what I saw.

My Favorite Face

This is my favorite face. I love those eyes and that grin that's often just under the surface and then bursts out. He makes my heart melt!

On the 17th I was at my parents house and Julie and little David came over to play for a while. We had so much fun together! It was a perfect day outside, so we had fun with his new basketball hoop and just running around.
David with Mommy and Grandma.
He didn't hit us over the head, but sure looked like he was going to in this shot! Really he was just so proud of lifting these heavy bars and carrying them around.
Running up and down the hill in my parents back yard, and playing peek-a-boo around a tree. By the way, this hill used to be HUGE, when did it shrink? Or did I just get taller? :)
A new favorite activity, rolling down the hill! Hours and hours can be spent doing this!
After dinner that night, we had a little ice cream. David enjoyed a spoonful with some strawberries in a tiny bowl that my mom had. Of course, it promptly got turned over (my mom's prepared with a plastic tablecloth cover -not unlike the couch cover in My Big Fat Greek Wedding!) and played with. I'm not sure how much actually got inside his tummy, but spread all over his hands instead!
He had lots of fun playing...
Then decided to stack the strawberries up on top of the bowl...
And voila! He did it! Can you beat that proud look he has?
What a fun face. I could just watch him all day long! I'm so glad I'm closer to him right now!

My Heart is Full

(I actually had this blog all ready to go just after I returned from Fergus, having typed the exact words I wanted, balancing humor and gratefulness... and then Blogger lost it all. I was pretty discouraged since it had taken a chunk of time that's been pretty limited in my busy life. But, I absolutely wanted you to see and hear about the great time I enjoyed in Fergus, so here's version #2!)

My Heart is Full

That's how I described my visit to Fergus Falls to someone, and it's so true: my heart is full. I had a great few days there! I was able to spend about 36 hours there (Saturday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon) and those 36 hours were PACKED! I had an amazing time! I have to admit, I was a little nervous about going back, thinking "maybe it won't feel like home anymore, and it will feel like it's right that I'm gone." I know, I know, pretty dumb, but I did get nervous about that. Well, it was the exact opposite! It completely felt like home, and like it was just right for me to be back.

I was able to spend some good time with friends, but like expected, wasn't quite able to see everyone or spend enough time with everyone. Thanks to those of you who were able to get together and I'm really looking forward to coming home again soon! Here are some fun pictures from the trip. (I'm going to write like you know the people I'm talking about, and if you don't, just look for a link to their blog -many of them have one!)

On my way up to Fergus, I had to snap this quick pic of the truck I followed for a bit -looks like it should belong to me! :)
I was able to stay at my friend Tara's house for Saturday and Sunday nights, so after I dropped my stuff off there, I headed over to the quilt auction for Inspiration Point Bible Camp. This is a favorite event of mine, since I love camp and want to support it, and since I also love quilts! It's always a great place to get some fun ideas, see what other people are up to, and just admire some beautiful quilts. It was fun to see a few quilts from across the room and know who had made them, based off of patterns and color choices (we get to know what other people like to work with!). It was also fun to see some of what the Bethel Stitch-a-Quilt group had been working on since I left last year. They do amazing hand-stitching.

Another great part to the auction was seeing old friends! I walked in the door and could see the look of surprise on some people's faces, and I love getting to surprise people like that! Very fun!!!

One of the HUGE blessings of the night was getting to hang out with Carrie and Christine! These are dear, wonderful friends, and it felt so NORMAL to spend time together again! In fact, to be honest, we realized that we weren't always watching the auction because we were so busy chatting with one another! But, all three of us said how great it was to be around close friends again, and that was the start of feeling like my heart was just full.

Christine's little guy is so much fun, and has such a great smile! He's a pretty happy kid, and it was a blast getting to see him at this age (I hadn't seen him since last September, so he's grown quite a bit since then!).
He loved the camera!
Here is one of the especially beautiful quilts, made quite well, and the colors seem just a little distorted here. It was in soft greens, blues, browns, and tans.
After the auction, I went with friends Tara, Kristin, and Shelly to go hang out at Pete's place, by camp. There was a bonfire, but we instead spent our time enjoying some delicious homemade smoked salmon and other goodies, sitting around the kitchen table. How is it that we always end up back at the kitchen table?? Tara and I got home around 1:30, stayed up talking until maybe 3:15? and had a great time catching up! Not much sleep, but lots of fun!!

On Sunday morning, we went to Bethel's 11am service. Wow, was it good to be home!!!! It was so nice to worship in a familiar setting (my worship settings change really frequently!) with familiar people, and in a familiar way. It was fun to see Pastor Dave do a double take from up front when he saw me! Brad and the worship team really blessed me, and oh, it was just good to be home. Of course there were too many people to talk to and not enough time, but that's the way it always goes...

Knowing that might happen a bit, the social organizer in me wanted to get a few friends together so I'd be sure to have the chance to talk with some people. So, we planned on meeting at the park by the big Otter, but since it was really windy and cold, we went to plan B, which meant going over to Danny and Mandy's house! It was so fun to see my old house, and especially nice to see it as their place so I can really think of it that way! Not many people get to go back to their old home, so I know I was fortunate to get to do that! There were maybe 12 of us adults, and around 6 kids that were able to come, so of course it was fun to spend time together!

As some people were starting to leave, I realized I hadn't really taken any pictures yet. Since many of these friends have blogs themselves, you can check out their links for more updates. Here's Kevin and Brooke's little guy -SO HAPPY!
Their oldest is also pretty happy, and just a fun kid to be around!
Trust me, he really was having a good time, just didn't want to be interrupted for a picture!
Mandy found this great puppet show set-up she loved, and Danny surprised her with it for a gift recently. Well, S & A had a fabulous time playing with the puppets! They were very creative with their play.
Little S has been a good friend of mine since she was even younger, and she gives the best hugs! Some wonderful memories for me are when she used to come sit with me at church on Sunday mornings, or wave to me from across the room. It was so fun to see how she's grown this year!
And her sister, A, has just shot up like a weed and looks so mature now! No more toddler left in her!
Here was some of the group just chatting. I had wanted to not be intrusive with my pictures, but now I wish I had taken a shot of the whole group!
S and A with their dad.
We have a similar picture to this from a while ago, so fun to see how much they've grown. I really love these girls!
Danny and Mandy and their little guy were wonderful hosts. THANK YOU so much for opening up your home to all of us! I'm so glad we got to spend a little time together, and I'm looking forward to the fact that Danny is on the team going to Africa in November.
After spending that time at Danny and Mandy's house, I was able to hang out at Christine and Eric's house. It's still a little strange for me that this guy I was in percussion with in high school later married my roommate and that we're able to stay in touch! How fun!! Christine's friendship is one I treasure dearly, and I'm so thankful for her and the chance to spend time catching up in person. I also think her little guy is pretty great, and we had some fun reading time together. He's such a cutie!
With a really great grin!
After hanging out at Eric and Christine's house, I was able to make some fun plans for the next day, and then met up with Jenn for a great chat at Perkins. I knew I was going to get to spend some good time with their family, but we were looking forward to spending some time together without the little ones around. And, where else could we go but Perkins? The site of many, many, many good conversations that have been had in Fergus! Jenn is such an amazing friend, and I value her opinion so much. We were out too late, but neither of us wanted to leave! I'm so glad she and Ryan are in Fergus now, but so sad that I'm not there with them.

On Monday morning, I was able to enjoy a nice cup of tea at Candis' house! I'm a big fan of tea, and no one makes it better than her! It was fun to see all the redecorating she and Wally have done in person, and we had the added blessing of her mom's company as well! Candis, I appreciate your wisdom and advice so much, and am really thankful for your friendship! Thanks for the warm tea, yummy muffins, great conversation, and wonderful blessing of your friendship. I can't believe neither of us thought to take a picture, but I guess that's because we see each other so often through our blogs!

After "Tea with Candis", I was able to enjoy "Lunch with Alison"! She and little A had been able to come to Arizona this past spring, so it was fun to see a little recognition on A's face when I came to the door. I love spending time with Alison, and am so glad we were able to do that. Once again, though... no pictures. Bummer...

After hanging out at Alison's, I was able to get over to Jenn and Ryan's house. I was so looking forward to hanging out with them, and playing with the kids!! This is one family that I would love to model my own after someday. They love spending time together, Jenn and Ryan are wonderful parents, and they have such an amazing marriage. I love watching them together. It's hard to believe we've all been friends for more than half our lives! So many memories! I appreciate how they just include me in their family, and understand how much I love their kids. They are all special to me and have such fun personalities.

We had a fun afternoon of playing all sorts of different things, then enjoyed a wonderful taco salad dinner (which is really busy with five kids and three adults around the table!). Then, after dinner Ryan needed to work on some cabinet stuff in the kitchen, so I thought we should all read a book or two and get out of his hair. It was fun to hear him say later "I'm so glad you were here to help with that!"

The next morning the kids got to 'play' a little on my bed before it was deflated. There were MANY giggles heard throughout the house!
You can see that one fell off to the left side, and the others were stuck in the middle.
Almost done!
After the two oldest went to school, Jenn and I had a little time with the youngest three. Here's the newest addition with a fun grin. He's really an easy going kid -must be a requirement with four older siblings!
Little L posing for the camera.
What a great smile A has!!
All of these kids mean so much to me, but little A is my goddaughter and it's fun to have a special relationship with her. She's a beautiful girl with a great personality. It's fun to watch her creative side when we play together.
This picture is so hilarious because we were all laughing and giggling, and then as soon as 1-2-3 was counted for the picture, L would make a funny face and pout. Then, once the picture was taken he was laughing and giggling again. We tried this a few times and kept getting the same result! Silly kid!
That Tuesday morning I was able to do something I had been longing for! Ever since I left Fergus a year ago, almost every Tuesday morning I've thought "I hope I can get a free Tuesday in Fergus sometime and join the ladies quilting again! So, when I knew I was heading to Fergus and didn't have to be back at work for a few days, I instantly made up my mind to surprise the ladies at quilting. It was so fun! I loved seeing their faces when I walked in the door and had so much fun stiching with them and catching up on their lives. Bethel's Stich-a-Quilt group means so much to me. These are the ladies that have taught me so much about life, love, raising families, being a good friend, praying for one another, serving the Lord, and loving Jesus. I am so honored to count them as friends and so blessed to have them in my life. I love knowing that they pray for me.

Here you can see them work on a beautiful heritage quilt.

After quilting, I was able to head to Adam and Rebekah's house for yummy soup and great conversation. It was so fun playing with the kids, and I got to meet this little one for the first time. He's already so big!
Little H has a great smile and fun giggle!
And little C is one of the smartest kids I know. He comes up with the best lines! You can read a few examples on their blog!
Thanks for the yummy soup, and I'm so glad it worked out to spend time together! I miss getting to hang out with you guys, and have longed for a good game of Settlers! :)

After Adam and Rebekah's, I was able to head to the hospital to say hi. I was only going to stay for a few minutes, but had so much fun catching up it got to be a bit longer! I was wondering if everything would seem different, but it really just felt like coming home. I really miss being there! I knew there had been some staffing changes, but I happened to go on a day where I knew everyone that was working. Yippee! It was fun to share a bit of what my life is like as a traveler, and fun to catch up with what they were up to. My only regret is that I didn't get to see everyone I would've liked to, and that we didn't have even more time together. I love what I'm doing for now, but LRHC will always be home and always be the place I compare every other hospital to.

Well, there you have it! That was my super fun, packed, enjoyable, wonderful weekend at home in Fergus. It really will always feel like home, no matter where else I live in life.

Thank you to each of you who helped feed and house me, and for taking time out of your schedules to hang out. I enjoyed a perfect few days there, and my heart is full because of it!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Attn: Fergus residents!

If you happen to live in or around Fergus Falls, I have TWO really great things to tell you about!

The first is that I have some dear friends who are trying to sell their house. They have a wonderful home that I have enjoyed many fun hours hanging out in. It's a good-sized house with a great yard and a few acres of woods, a big garage and out-buildings. They are moving due to a new job, otherwise I know they had planned on being able to live there a long time. It's just that kind of place -pretty perfect! You feel at home instantly! In fact, if I were raising a family near Fergus, it's just the kind of place I'd like to have.

Well, they're having an open house on Saturday morning, so I think YOU should really consider checking it out! Here's the information (and don't worry, when I mentioned posting it here for you to read, she was in total agreement!).

This Saturday, Sept 13th there is going to be an OPEN HOUSE for the selling of our home in Fergus Falls. If you know of anyone looking to buy, please let them know, or if you are just curious, feel free to stop by. It will be from 10am-Noon Saturday, Sept. 13th. We are going through Luhman Real Estate (

Our home address is as follows:
29192 Norgren Rd.
Fergus Falls, MN 56537

The SECOND piece of news is that I'm coming to see you this weekend! I found out that I don't have to work again until the end of next week, so my first thought was "YES!!! It's the Quilt Auction for camp this weekend and I can be there!" I'm really excited to "come home" again. You know that Fergus will always feel like home to me!

So, I'll be at the IPBC Quilt Auction on Saturday night (doors open at 4pm at Quality Toyota -be there!), Bethel Church on Sunday morning (I CANNOT even tell you how much I'm looking forward to worshipping at Bethel again!!!!), and then after church I would LOVE to have lunch with you! Here's the current plan: After church on Sunday I'm going to grab some lunch for myself and eat it at the picnic shelter by the Otter (I think that's Grotto Park). I would love it if you did the same! Anyone that wants to join the collective "us" for lunch should just plan on getting some lunch and meeting at the picnic shelter to hang out for a while.

The backup plan is that if there is another group there (I checked it out and found that I could reserve it -for $50...decided to pass) or if the weather turns sour, Danny and Mandy have graciously invited us to their house instead. THANKS for that nice offer!

Then, because I don't have to work for a few days (gotta love 12-hour shifts!) I'll hang out on Monday, have a fun Tuesday morning and then head back south again after lunch that day.

WOW! It's so fun to have plans in Fergus again! I really have missed being there, and am looking forward to this fun weekend! Hope to see you soon!

The Cutest Kid

So one of the really great things about being back in the Midwest is being around this little guy again. You know how much I love him!! I thought I'd share a few fun pictures of him so you can see just how much he's grown while I've been gone.

Here are some shots I took before going to Seattle for the weekend. They're the reason my camera was on the kitchen table and not in my purse/pocket like normal...

Here he is showing us his great ability to "stack" things. He's a natural...

He and I had a lot of fun playing with my camera and seeing what we looked like on the screen right after we took the picture. I've been getting a little better at doing the self-portraits, and they're a lot more fun with him in the picture!

My dad helped us with this last one!

All these pictures (except the first group) were taken on Tuesday night. It was so fun to be close enough to come home for dinner! There was a specific reason I came back only one day after I moved to Mankato, though. My cousin, Tim, was in town! He's the same Tim from Mount Rainier fame, back from an interesting year in Norway. Check out his blog link on the right for amazing pictures and stories! It was so fun to get to see him if only for the evening, but the really fun news is that he'll also be in the Midwest until the end of the year, so I'm excited to catch up some more in the future.

While he was here, we used the chance to snap a few family pictures. They mostly consisted of us all laughing trying to see what David would do, but there were a couple that turned out okay.

I really love this kid!

The cousins, with the first of the next generation.

It was SO great to see you Tim! I'm glad you'll be closer and am excited to see you again sometime soon!