Ruby -- 20 Months

Ruby had what was "technically" her 18-month checkup on Tuesday. She is actually 20 months old now, and such a joy.
She weighed in at 26.6 lbs and was 33.5" tall. That's right around 75% for both, but again, that's based on 18 month stats.She is talking more and more every day, although sometimes I think I'm the only person who can understand what she's saying. She remains our super snuggle bear, and can't get enough of Gideon, who has had quite enough of her. She has also started singing her own rendition of the ABC song, which goes something like this: "A, E, E, E, A, AH, G....A, I, A, A, AH, EH, EH, O, P!"



Gooseberry Camping Trip

On Saturday morning, we packed up our two kids & three dogs and embarked on the 3-hour drive to Gooseberry Falls State Park.

Nothing ever goes as planned.

The trip was originally supposed to be a 3-night event, but was shortened to only one night due to JP's busy work schedule. We were hoping to hit the road by 9 am on Saturday, but of course, the back hatch on our van had to break just as we were loading the last of our supplies. JP "fixed" it so that it can now be opened with a screwdriver more easily than it worked before.

Once we hit the road, things went smoothly. Well, except for the part where we stopped to let the puppy "go" on the side of the highway. Rae announced she also had to "go," and as I helped her crouch behind a bush, she ended up "going" on my flip-flopped foot.

Then when we got into Duluth, Rae saw a flag and announced, "Mom, Dad, look! There's an American Idol!" Good grief, what have we done?!!?

We finally arrived at Gooseberry and things just got more interesting. I had called on Friday to let the park know that we wouldn't be arriving until Saturday so our spot wouldn't get taken. The lady I talked to assured me it was no problem and they would make a note on our reservation that we would be arriving Saturday around lunchtime.

Apparently that message never got relayed, so when we showed up, they had already given our reserved site to someone else. It wouldn't have been a huge deal except our friends, the Gills, had intentionally reserved a site right next to ours and had already arrived and set up their camp. They were willing to break camp and move to another site so we could still be together. The park thanked us with free camping vouchers.

Our new site ended up being nice because they were joined sites. It was like having one big site instead of two separate ones. Plus it was further away from the lake and the cold, cold wind.

Which brings me to the final surprise of the weekend -- the weather. All of the forecasts for the area said "sunny with highs between 68-71 degrees," but when we arrived it was 53 degrees and windy in the middle of the day. None of us were prepared for those temperatures, much less the night temps. I had only brought a hooded sweatshirt as my "jacket," and Jon Gill hadn't even brought that much -- just a flannel!

We all bundled up in every article of clothing we had brought and ended up having a great time. Jon & Brenda have two girls as well, and they all played together so well. We went to the falls and waded in the chilly water, made s'mores, and kept warm around a big fire.

Rae & Abigail being silly

The girls playing together
Yes, that is a wood chip in Ruby's mouth.
Rae's teepee inside the tent -- thanks, Grandma! Bedtime was never so fun!
Unfortunately, Jon had to work Sunday afternoon, so they had to leave relatively early in the morning. After they left we packed up our site and then took the girls down to Lake Superior. Being there on those rocky beaches brings back so many memories of when I was young. My parents used to take us there all the time. Watching Rae climb all over those rocks collecting driftwood and Ruby throw wave-beaten pebbles into the water brought all of those sweet memories back, fresh and beautiful.

We'll be back soon.

You can view more pictures from the trip here.



Gideon's Homecoming

We brought Gideon home as an official part of our family on Monday. So far he is a very, very good puppy -- as far as puppies go. He is still hyper like other puppies, still loves to chew on whatever he can find, and still needs to be watched every second to avoid "accidents" -- like any other puppy.

BUT, in the 4 days we've had him home, he's only had 3 accidents! He's sort of learning his name, doesn't soil his crate/kennel, and plays well with the girls and the other dogs.

The first night we put him in his kennel, he cried quite a bit. We kept him right next to the bed where JP could reach down and reassure him, and eventually he calmed down and went to sleep. That night he only woke up once to go potty at 2 am, but then at 5:30 am he woke up again and had no interest in going back to sleep! He cried and cried until JP finally got up with him.

He is doing better now, and is willing to go back in his kennel and lay quietly until the rest of the family is ready to wake up.

During the day he is just like a baby -- he'll have short spurts of being awake and very interactive, then he'll crash for a nice long nap.

Since this is JP's dog and his project, he has been very faithful to be the one to get up with the puppy at night, feed him, take him out to go potty, etc. As long as he is home, the dog is with him and he is taking care of it. That's a relief for me! They are already developing a special bond.

This coming weekend we are embarking on our first camping trip of the season with all three dogs. Pray that Gideon has this night thing down by then, and that our neighbors are gracious!

10-year Reunion

I have been struggling to find the time to post pictures from our very busy and very fun weekend. Now it is Thursday, and I only have a few minutes, so here I go!

My high school 10-year reunion took place in two parts last weekend. First there was a "kid-friendly" day at the zoo on Friday, followed by a BBQ and bonfire the next night. I went to a small, private Christian high school and graduated with only 23 other people in my class. Getting together is extra fun because we were all so close and seem to be able to pick up right where we left off.

It was really fun to be able to meet some of the other classmates' kids! I think (correct me if I'm wrong?) we had all of the "class of 2000" kids except for four.

One very special treat was meeting my dear friend Bethany's son, Isaac, for the first time. I know many of you were praying for them through their roller-coaster adoption process. He is a cute, smiley, happy baby boy, and motherhood looks so good on Bethany !

On Saturday, the girls and I got to spend some time with another of my bridesmaids, Erin. She and her husband moved to Boston when we were newly pregnant with Rae. We only get to see them about once a year, and it had been even longer than that (I think?) since we hung out. The girls loved her (and her parent's dogs), and we had a blast.

That afternoon I also had the chance to spend more one-on-one time with Bethany and Isaac, and enjoy my first Caribou Cooler of the season.

Saturday night was the cookout, and about half of our tiny class showed up, plus spouses. We had a great time because, like I said, it was as if we were able to pick up right where we left off ten years ago. Everybody was the same.

If you want to see more pictures from the reunion, you can click here.


Quick Update

This week has gone by quickly, and that's a good thing.

Ruby is getting over a bout with what the doctor thinks is hand, foot, and mouth disease. It started with a high fever, then she developed a nasty rash that spread all over her body. Unfortunately, it's a virus, so there's really nothing we can do except let it run it's course. She has been much better the last two days, and the rash is fading.

Tomorrow the girls and I are heading into the cities to stay at my parents for the weekend. My 10-year high school reunion is this weekend in two parts -- one on Friday and the other on Saturday. I saw no reason to keep driving back and forth all weekend, so we're just going to stay down the whole time. Rae is so excited for a "sleep-over" at Grandma's. :)

While we are gone, JP is having some of his hunting buddies stay at our place over the weekend. It's turkey season (JP's first time hunting turkey), and they are going to hunt right on our property. JP is so excited, it's just about all he can think about or talk about.

Gideon comes home on Monday. We could have him already, but with the busy weekend, we thought it would be best to wait. Can't wait to snuggle him again!



Tonight we went back to the breeder and picked out our new Munsterlander puppy. Blog readers, meet Gideon.

Good LORD is he cute. He is the second born of his mother's "G" litter (which means her 7th litter), so all of the puppies will get "G" names. JP is in love.

The breeders had narrowed it down to three males they thought would be a good fit for our home. When we got there, they pulled the three out and put a bird out for the puppies to find. We were amazed how at only six weeks old, all of them were tracking, pointing, and retrieving.

He is still too young to come home with us just yet. That will happen in about another week.

We also found out that the original Munsterlander that JP met in the hardware store (the one that he was so impressed with) is Gideon's father.

We are all excited, but JP is beside himself. I'm just praying he's an easy puppy! Welcome to the family, Gideon!

My New Sink

You know you've gone completely domestic when you get excited enough about your new sink to post a blog about it.

But seriously...isn't it gorgeous?

It has a detachable cutting board with a stainless steel strainer built into it.

It has one single HUGE bowl, perfect for loading up with dishes or, I dunno, bathing some BABIES!

And JP bought the faucet in this finish to match the lighting fixtures in the kitchen and dining area. Lovely.

Don't be jealous.


If you feed them, they will come

Ever since we scattered the corn and sunflower seeds, we've had a beautiful array of wildlife appear in our yard.

Deer (sorry, bad photo)
Grouse (can you see it?)
Sand Crane with baby
We've also seen bald eagles, giant woodpeckers, hawks, pheasant and thankfully only coyote prints so far.


Israel's First Haircut

Last night I gave Israel her first haircut. It's amazing that she hasn't needed one in three years, but lately I had been noticing that she had three or four ringlets in the back that hung down a couple inches longer than everything else. It had a mullet feel to it.

So, with JP's very hesitant consent (he's VERY protective of her curls), I quickly snipped off the ends. I thought JP was going to cry, he was so sentimental about it. We put the curls in an envelope and into her baby book.

The result is a much more even-looking head of hair, although it does look much shorter to me. Crazy what a difference a couple of inches makes!

(don't worry about that one curl hanging off the bottom. I got it. I literally had to wait for JP to leave the room to even it out, because he kept saying, "stop, that's enough, no more.")

JP mourning the first lost curls


Nana's Birthday Party

JP's grandmother, Nana Charlebois, celebrated another birthday this week. Her special request this year was for a girls only get-together with her daughters and granddaughters. We all gathered at Aunt Sue's house for a delicious brunch. Then, we each took part in assembling a scrapbook for Nana. Scrapbooking is not my strong point, but we had a good time, and the finished product is beautiful. Happy birthday, Nana! The daughters (Kathy, Barb, Nana, Sue, & Margie) The granddaughters (Erin J., Erin F., Erika, Lisa, Nana, Sarah, Kristi, & me) Scrapbooking