We had a fun and busy summer back in Minnesota. Where did the summer go? Our trip from Ohio was cut short because of some medical stuff. Our intentions were to stay in Ohio for two weeks after the wedding to spend time with Zach and Lauren but doctor appointments forced us back sooner. As it turned out my doctor really screwed up and we should have been able to keep our plans. I will be looking for a new doctor next year. So we drove back to Dakotah Meadows in Prior Lake, MN for a week and then went to Cassie and Aaron’s lake in Wisconsin over the 4th of July. Of course, it was fabulous. Any time we can spend time with our granddaughter, Cate, we count as a blessing. From WI we drove to Grand Marais, MN with Cassie and Cate for a week on Lake Superior. Aaron joined us for a few days before he headed off to the Boundary Waters for a canoe trip with his buddies. We loved Grand Marais as always. We usually go there to get away from the heat and humidity of the Twin Cities. This time it was just as hot there as in was 300 miles south in Minneapolis. We have been going to Grand Marais for 40 years and this was the first time we can remember anyone swimming in Lake Superior that far north. Even Joe and Cate went in for a dip. It was still fun but would have enjoyed it just a little bit more if it had been 10 degrees cooler.
While we were enjoying Grand Marais, Joe got a call from his old boss at the company he had worked for the last 40 years asking him if he was interested in coming back to work on a project. They were open to Joe putting in as many days as he could before we left in the Fall. It took Joe a week to decide if he really wanted to go back to work but in the end he decided to work until Labor Day as we were planning on going to the kids land again in WI and then heading to Ohio before Florida. As Labor Day approached, Joe realized that he would like to try to get the project completed and decided to stay on until the end of September. So Joe was unofficially out of retirement from mid-summer until Oct 1st. I think he decided after the end of summer that he really, really likes retirement.
Even with him working about 10 weeks we still had a lot going on to keep us really busy. We had a wedding shower for our nephew’s future wife, Teri and then helped Jeremy and Teri celebrate their wedding in September. It was a beautiful day and they had a very nice wedding. We also had a couple’s wedding shower for our daughter, Amanda and her future husband, Ron. It was great fun and a large group of family and friends attended.
Cassie took Joe to a night photography class in Minneapolis where he took some fabulous pictures of the Stone Arch Bridge. He came back so excited about what he learned and would like to take more classes. Some evenings you can find him outside trying out his new skills he learned. I went to an evening cooking class with my two daughters and their friend, Terri. We made some excellent food and drank a little wine. Cate, Cassie and I spent an afternoon at the Minnesota Arboretum looking at flowers and playing in the kids play area. Have to go back there – lovely place. We went to WI with Cassie, Aaron, Cate, Amanda and Ron for Labor Day. Bugs were a little bad but otherwise it was a great long weekend. I enjoyed a visit to the apple orchard and petting zoo with Cassie and Cate in September. Went to a couple of fittings for the wedding dress with Amanda. She is going to be a beautiful bride. We also were able to spend some time over the weekends with our son Eric going to movies, or the farmers market or a visit with Joe’s mom.
We also lost a good neighbor, Jim Busch. Jim and Rosie lived across the street from us in Jordan for almost 40 years. We stopped to see the Busch’s mid-May and Jim had just gotten out of the hospital from a suspected heart-attack. Jim went in for tests the next week and they discovered he had cancer. Jim passed away in August. Rosie and Jim were blessed with five wonderful children and their spouses. They were also blessed with many grandchildren and had their first great-grandbaby this past year. We know that Rosie will be looked after. Rest in peace, Jim!
We helped Joe’s sister, Bonnie and her husband Tim, celebrate her 60th birthday at a lovely winery called Vinos in the Valley in Maiden Rock, WI. We had an excellent dinner sitting out in the open while we enjoyed the beautiful surrounding hills. A walk along the river was great after we finished our food. We will definitely go back there. Then Bonnie and Tim decided we didn’t quite have enough to eat (we were stuffed) and drove us to Stillwater, MN for an ice cream experience we won’t soon forget. We went to Nelson’s Ice Cream shop which was just a tiny little place in a residential part of Stillwater. Bonnie brought along bowls and spoons and we couldn’t figure out why you’d needed that if we were just getting an ice cream cone. We got there about 9 in the evening. The line was very long and the cones (which weren’t really cones) were very huge. You picked from about 50 different flavors in four sizes; kids, single, double and I don’t remember what the other was called but I would have no idea who would have ordered it. Bonnie, Joe and I ordered the kids. There is no kid that could have eaten this amount of ice cream. Here is where the bowls came in. You had to dump the ice cream in the bowl because there was so much ice cream in the cone and if you didn’t dump it in the bowl it would have been running down your clothes before you finished it. None of us could finish our ice cream. It was a sin! I think the three of us could have split one ice cream. Of course Tim had to show us up and ordered the single which was twice as big as the kids and finished every last drop. We had a lot of laughs. Great day!
We had to have a little work done on our 5th wheel so we decided to stay a few days at Bunker Hills Regional Park in Coon Rapids, MN close to our RV dealer. This is a very nice county campground but a little dusty. None of the roads are paved and with the dry weather it was dusty. They have a big water park which was closed as of Labor Day weekend and wonderful paved bike trails. I would think this would be a very busy park filled with families in the summer. It was nice and quiet mid-week in September.
Our best time over the summer, of course, was spending time with our granddaughter, Cate. She is growing so fast and moves faster than her grandpa (now called papa) and I can move. We had a terrible scare with her one weekend that she stayed with us. She knows how to open the door going outside so we put a baby gate in front of the door. Joe went outside and I should have put the baby gate up but she was playing with something and thinking Joe was coming right back in left the gate down. In two seconds she was at the door, Joe opened it and out she fell. She went down the four steps of the 5th wheel and landed on the cement pad. She was crying and I wanted to cry too. I check every inch of her to make sure there were no broken bones or bruises. I don’t know how she did it but there wasn’t a scratch on her. No bumps – nothing. It sure did shake papa and grandma up. So we thought we really lucked out not having to send her home with some major bruises or worse a broken bone. No such luck! The next day she was moving her fast little pace (running) and she tripped on one of my rugs, hit the corner wall and produced a huge egg on her forehead. I think it hurt me almost as much as it hurt her. Why was it when our own kids fell and got hurt you just told them to brush it off but with the grandkid it feels like you failed to keep her safe? Our daughter tells us that Cate will have a lot of bumps and bruises as she grows up. Hopefully there won’t be any more on our watch.
We had one last weekend with Cassie, Aaron, Cate and Amanda at the lake in WI and a visit to the Cranberry Festival in Stone Lake. It was so cold but that didn’t seem to hold the people off. This festival always draws a huge crowd. It was also time to help the kids close up their camper for the season and time for us to start heading south.
So much going on over the summer but we always have that missing piece that tugs at our hearts. So as we head to Florida for Amanda and Ron’s wedding in November we plan to stop and spend a few days in Ohio visiting with Zach and Lauren. It won’t be enough time but we will see them in Naples in November and God be willing, we will have a longer visit in the Spring.
To all of our family, friends and Joe’s co-workers – thank you for a great summer! We are truly blessed!