Aug 31, 2015

The Tree Fort

8/31/2015 — cori
We pass this house multiple times a day on Ninja's walk. It makes me want to puke. This is like the "perfect" tree fort or elevated play house or whatever you want to call it. It even has a patio, roof with shingles and windows. Obviously it isn't finished yet. I'm sure they plan to brick this little piece of perfection or at the very least put up all weather siding. I'm sure it will also include real glass windows, possibly some furniture and maybe even a tiny HVAC system. And the worst part of the whole thing is the the mom is building it all by herself! Overachiever. She even has a tool belt and a power nail gun thingy. I saw her on scaffolding the other day. First of all, what mom has time to do a project of this nature and magnitude with 4 kids to care for? Secondly, where did she learn such incredible carpentry skills and lastly, why am I so jealous?


The reason for my jealousy probably stems from the fact that our own tree fort pales in comparison. 


Most people think it's a deer stand that we've created in the woods. They would be wrong. Chuck just isn't finished with it yet. It's a work in progress (for over 1 1/2 now). We (the Chuck part of we) still have to put up a railing. Chloe will be 16 by time this piece of art is completed and Gavin might be graduated from college. I hope he's not building it for me and him.


If you notice, I'd like to point out some special features that our deer stand has that the other 'perfect' tree fort lacks...such as the classy rusted out pot hanging off one post on string. Also, we like to recycle our plastic Target bags, as you can plainly see it dangling off the edge of the unfinished post. And since we're going for the 'classy' look, we figured an empty plastic bucket laying around under the fort should also come in handy for something at some point (possible bathroom?). Sometimes Chloe puts her camping chair up there for seating. Another nice touch.


Can you see the fort/playhouse/deer stand from our back door? Nope. That would be on purpose. It might bring down the value of our house if seen by an appraiser. It is so far in the backwoods as to be secluded. It is also deep in the mosquito territory and behind our pile of wood to burn. Did I mention it was built on an incredible slope? I don't think miss perfect tree house builder had slope issues to deal with. She has a perfectly even lot to build her perfect little tree house upon. Also...did you see any trees in her 'tree house'? Not a one. We (Chuck), on the other hand, have masterfully built our tree fort around not one, not two, but three different trees. Talk about overachieving!

Migratory Pain Syndrome

8/31/2015 — cori

This most wonderful handsome guy has a problem. He has diagnosed it all on his own. I'm rather proud of him. I think he may be on to something. This could possibly change the world....well, at least all those in the over 40 crowd. 

You see, ever since he turned 40 some two years ago he has noticed odd, little pains throughout his body for no reasons at all. Each morning he awakes to find a new and different pain. One day it might be an excessively twitching eyebrow, the next day his knee locks up and chooses not to work all day and still another his pinky toe is in massive pain affecting his walk. 

He has appropriately named his malady, "Migratory Pain Syndrome". He is a namer of things. Now that this affliction has a name it is easier to cope with. It becomes more of a new, daily surprise. I might wake up saying, "Hey Babe, what seems to be hurting you today?". And he'll assess his fragile condition and give me the daily MPS Report. It's become quite the hilarious tradition.

Not that I'm complaining about getting older. I love getting older. I love the wisdom, experience, depth and insight that comes with age. What I don't love is how our bodies need a little higher degree of maintenance. This is how we are embracing it. One random body pain at a time.  

Aug 27, 2015

Camping In August Sucks

8/27/2015 — cori
Six months ago some friends asked us to go camping with them Up North. We told them we'd love to but warned them of the Mallott Camping Rain Curse. They told us not to worry. They would cancel out our bad luck. They've been to this location every year for 8 years and it would be fine. They didn't seem to understand our incessant bad luck while camping here in Minnesota. Oh well, we figured we'll just wait and see. If you pick mid-August to go camping, you should be guaranteed heat and sun. Not in Minnesota.

A tiny little Arctic Blast decided to swoop it's way down on the exact day we headed out for our latest camping adventure. Imagine that?! We've had gorgeous weather the past several weeks, but on the third week of August, all beauty left and was replaced with Old Man Winter reaching his crooked, ugly claws into our highly anticipated camping weekend.

The day we left to drive the 3 hours north the expected high was 55. In August!!! I don't think it ever really made it to 55. Also, we had a 25 mile an hour wind gust to deal with. Oh, and it was a lovely shade of gray all day long. Windy, cold and gray just makes things feel even colder. I tried to stay optimistic, I really did. I even came up with a list of three things to be thankful about:

1. there are no mosquitos when it's this cold
2. sunsets are usually pretty with this much cloud cover
3. we're together

See...I tried. To make matters even worse, there wasn't even one teeny tiny hiking trail to be found. Not a one. We are hikers. Big time. *Big Sigh*. Oh well. After setting up camp, we walked over to our friend's campsite and all sat in their pop-up which had heat. Forget a campfire, we need propane!

Technically it was nicer the next day. The sun came out. Woo-hoo! But it wasn't necessarily warmer. And the wind was still going strong. This second day we planned to go out on the pontoon boat and fish. Actually, that was supposed to be the plan for the first day and the second day we were supposed to get a speed boat and water-ski. This was an activity I was especially looking forward to being that I've never been water-skiing. But the water apparently had just thawed out from this past winter and was un-swimmable unless you had on a wet suit or are native to this region.

COLD was the theme of this whole disastrous adventure. On the third day we woke up to 38 degrees. We don't have heat in our tents. Nor did we bring winter coats. However, as we packed up to go home, it was warming up nicely. By time we left it was a balmy 70 degrees out. We just have the worst luck ever.

Like I said, awesome sunset. There will be alot of these since I'm trying to stay positive.

I stayed on the dock for a long time soaking it all in. This was my happy place. 

All the cold seemed to melt as I stood here gazing at the heavens with a smile on my face.
There are another 30 sunset pictures on my camera. You're lucky I only posted 3.

The campsite. It was nice and large.


Chloe also took advantage of the sunset with me.

Bennett climbed a tree at sunset


Chloe and I took a selfie at sunset. 

Sitting around the campfire at sunset. (Notice the 'sunset' theme yet?)
Those with shorts on and short sleeves were just plain crazy.

Day Two on the pontoon

Gavin's first ever fish. No, he didn't catch it with his bare hands.
He used a fishing pole and bait. He says he'll never fish again though.

Bennett getting a lesson from Dad on how to cast.
He called his fishing pole his Fish Stick. Only Bennett.

Apparently his fish stick worked great because he caught the biggest fish of everyone.
He caught a Rock Bass. I guess you don't eat these fish because we threw everyone of them back.

Chloe's first ever fish. You can tell she's not so sure about it. She also said she'll 
probably never fish again. She feels bad about putting a hole in the fish's mouth.

The obligatory flower photo. I'm drawn to sunsets and flowers. I can't help it. I love beauty 
and this is where I find it. Unfortunately, I don't find fish beautiful.


Chuck and Gavin way up in the perfect climbing tree.

Finally Making Progress

8/27/2015 — cori
You would think we have been on hiatus from our bathroom remodel project being that I haven't posted nary a picture in over 3 months. And you would be correct. When the sun is out and it is hot, we are outside. All other priorities are trumped by the sun. We take advantage of any and all time we can get outdoors where we can feel hot or warmish because it is such a rarity.

However, all is not lost on the bathroom front. Luckily for the bathroom, we've had several rainy weekends and have been more or less forced in doors. Not that we haven't been working on it here or there over the summer, but it's just not anything to write home about. Who wants to see pictures of cement board being put up over studs? Who wants to see Chuck agonizing on the garage floor as he painstakingly cuts each board with a razor blade. There might be more appropriate tools to use to speed up this process.  If there were - we didn't know about them. So, since this part of the job was about as much fun as getting your wisdom teeth pulled out, we kinda procrastinated just a wee bit.

But alas, it is done and the water-proof material has been layered on top of that. Now the real fun has begun. But before we could do most of the real fun, we had to do alot of math. Think of our shower stall as one big jigsaw puzzle. It took so much measuring for us to figure out where to start the tiles and in what order. No one told us all this math would be necessary in order to have a beautiful bathroom. But we persevered and made it through to the other side.


Chuck is letting me do most of the tiling since his hand is still tired from cutting all the cement board. Plus, he realized I'm actually good at that. My days of only being the helper are apparently over. I'm a legitimate tiler now. I feel so much more accomplished rather than only being sent to get the tape measure or the level or tape off the doorway in plastic.


Chuck is more the details kind of guy. Therefore, he does the small stuff well. I'm more of a big picture kinda girl...thus, being allowed to do the big tiles and the overall design of the room suits me best. We're quite the team. At this rate, I bet we'll be done by October. Need I remind anyone that that is the original date I set for project completion? Ms. Big Picture forsaw the whole summer hiatus thing happening and adjusted her expectations accordingly. I'm just sayin'.

Aug 18, 2015

On Wanting To Fit In

8/18/2015 — cori

The other day we were visiting with some neighbors who were talking about how moving to this small town wasn't what they were hoping it would be. They said that people here were too 'clicky', not welcoming enough. They felt snubbed. They still feel like outsiders after more than 10 years of living here. We discussed how alot of small towns have that and how its one of those things you just accept when you move there. You take the good with the bad, right? You realize that over time, maybe people will become more accepting of you once they get to know you.

Later on the conversation moved to the topic of our individual heritages and where our families were originally from. One of the people spoke up and said, "Enough with our old ethnicities, we're Americans now and those ethnicities don't matter. Too many immigrants nowadays want to come here and force their customs and ways on our country. They need to be more American.  It didn't used to be like this. Back in the old days people tried hard to assimilate and become more American."

I didn't say much in response to what this person said because number one, I was too taken back by such vitriol towards people he doesn't even know, yet hates. I was aghast at animosity towards others who want to be accepted by people around them when he was just complaining about the exact same problem. I was amazed at the level of racism that permeates every facet of our country when our country only exists because of immigrants. The only true people native to this land we've shoved onto small parcels of undesirable land (don't even get me started on our treatment of Native Americans - it's purely shameful). 

Since my tongue was tied the day this person spewed his opinions in my direction, it took several days for me to find my footing and figure out how I wanted to respond. My heart was broken. I didn't want to respond in anger or ignorance. That would make me exactly like this other person. This post is my response.

Being that I work with and know alot of immigrants as an ESL teacher, I know quite a bit about what they go through moving here to America. Many of them never even imagined themselves here but were forced out of their native homelands by war, death threats, or starvation. Others I know wanted to come because other family members live here or because they have an American spouse. Still others came with hopes of starting fresh with the hope of the 'American Dream'. Everyone has a story.

I know one lady who was chosen to come to the US from a Somalian refugee camp before her husband and son. If she refused to come, she may never be chosen again. It's been 5 years since she moved here and every single day she waits and wishes for her family, hardly ever getting the chance to talk to them. She works long hours at a factory and still finds time to go to school every day of the week before work to learn better English. She was never allowed to go to school back in Somalia. Yes, she wears a hijab. Yes, she is of a different skin color. Yes, she is Muslim. But I didn't think any of those things disqualified her from living in the U.S. We are supposedly a nation of tolerance.

I know a 63 year old man who had to stop going to school at age 7 and start going to work after his father was injured on the job. He grew up in Pakistan. After getting married he moved to Dubai and raised his 4 children on the salary of an auto mechanic.  He worked for the same company for 30 years and never once knew how to read or write in his own language of Urdu. He can speak 5 languages. He can manage over 100 employees. He moved to America to live with his son after he retired. He is happy to live with his extended family (his son married an American lady) as is their custom. He takes his grandchildren to school every morning. He works the night shift at Walmart so he can have health insurance to still care for his wife. He works all night and comes to school in the morning for 3 hours. He now knows how to read English and gets tears in his eyes when he explains to people that he knows how to read now. He goes to the library every week to check out new books to read while on his dinner break at Walmart. He has an infectious laugh. He loves to travel. He loves to cook food for his entire mosque on special days. Is he not American enough? 

I know a lady who's parents left her and her sisters behind with her grandparents when she was 5 years old to come to America and try to earn enough money to send back home to Mexico so their children could eat. They scrimped and saved for years in order to be able to pay for visas for their children to come to the US at a chance for a better life. It took 14 years until the family could be together again. This lady worked two jobs and went to school after moving here legally. She learned survival English but still feels insecure and comes to school to help improve her English. She lives with a constant sense of not being good enough. 

These people migrate towards others they feel they have commonalities with. They attend the same church, temple, mosques with like-minded people. Just like we do. They live in housing they can afford, just like we do. Oftentimes, they are scared in this new country and so they congregate with others who are similar to them. Just as I would do if I moved to a new country. The first person I saw that spoke my language and had similar likes and dislikes and understood my culture is the person I would want to be around. Little communities grow up out of these commonalities. 

It is not 'these people' trying to change America to be more like their culture. 'These people' are just used to a certain way of life and are trying to keep some of that familiarity in tact while also trying to assimilate in an often-time starkly different culture. It is completely understandable. Yet, we'd rather accuse them of not being American enough. What does that look like exactly? How do you be American? Do you have to be white, drive a nice car, live in an expensive house, speak flawless English, have a 9-5 job and be a Christian? 

Our civil liberties include among other things the freedom of assembly, to dissent with our government on issues, to worship as we choose. Why does the government care which clothes I choose to wear? They don't usually, unless those clothes are Muslim looking. Why are we so suspicious? Is this a new fear? Don't we wish we could go back to the 'good old days'? America's hatred of immigrants has a long and ugly history that seems to be glossed over and forgotten about.

Actually, there were no 'good old days'. Maybe for a few white people, but not for a large majority of the population of our country. When people use this line of reasoning, it is based solely on opinion, an ideal, a romanticized version of reality. It is ignorance of the facts. Here are some facts from the 'good old days':

Roosevelt (before he was president) issued this speech in St. Louis in 1916, "I stand for straight Americanism unconditioned and unqualified and I stand against every form of hyphenated Americanism...Unless the immigrant becomes in good faith an American and nothing else, then he is out of place in this country and the sooner he leaves the better." I guess this is where we get our idea of people needing to 'act' American. I guess it means you can have no fondness for your native country. This speech was given right before America entered WWI. Nativism was rampant and fear of 'hyphenated Americans' was all the rage. Hyphenated Americans were German-Americans at the time. You can substitute any country nowadays. Patriotism equalled exclusion of anyone not like us.

Ever heard of the Alien and Sedition Acts? This government proclamation made it illegal for any one from Germany  who was not a 'naturalized citizen' to posses firearms, criticize the government in writing, use aircraft or wireless devices or reside in certain areas of the country. If people in your town heard you speaking any other language other than English you would be ostracized and worse. Often times people were accused and sentenced for crimes they didn't commit just because they were German. Does any of this sound familiar? We repeated this exact same brand of patriotism against immigrants or 'alien enemies' in our country multiple times since then; WWII, McCarthyism Era, post 9/11. Our own government sent thousands of it's own American citizens who happened to have Japanese, German or Italian heritage to internment camps during WWII - just because they weren't 'American enough'.

My own great-grandparents came to America during this uninviting time of the turn of the century, pre-WWI, when being different could cost you your life or your livelihood. No wonder they told my grandparents when they were children to only speak English, no more Polish. The way their new country treated them affected the way they raised their children. It's unAmerican to be proud of your heritage, supposedly. At least that's what many people were led to believe by the media, the government and their neighbors.

I'm not claiming that all immigrants are saints. I'm aware that its a much more complex issue. But I believe that you wouldn't judge another as harshly if you actually took time to know the 'other'. If you have met only horrible, unthankful immigrants, then I guess I can understand having a negative outlook on this topic. But if you don't know one immigrant, haven't taken the time to hear their story, eat at their table, look at the world through their lens, then you cannot hold a legitimate opinion about them until you do.

If we really did treat others the way we wished to be treated imagine how much nicer the world would be. Patriotism shouldn't mean exclusion of others because of their differences.  That's as immature as children on the playground. If we saw children treating each other as harsh as adults do, we'd put a stop to it, teach them to be kind, point out that we can learn from differences. We all need each other, we just don't know it yet.

Aug 12, 2015

Bibliophile

8/12/2015 — cori

Yesterday Chloe spent the better part of the afternoon laying out front on a quilt spread on the cool grass with a book in front of her and her camera ever close by.  She took this awesome photo while contentedly enjoying her time outside.

We might appear that we have a problem.  We have books lying around all over this house.  I woke up this morning and went to sit in the front room to drink my tea and read, as is the custom, and this is what I beheld:

4 books laying haphazardly on the coffee table

5 books piled up by the chair

as well as the ever constant stack by my chair

This is what I love most about my house. There are books in every corner of every room on every surface being read, waiting to be read, and/or on a shelf after being enjoyed. This makes my heart happy. The rooms might look a little cluttered, there may be some random book on the floor, counter top, or side table but you will never see me exasperated by it.  I will be smiling and content because it shows me that my children are always growing their minds, always learning, always seeking new ideas and adventures, always enveloped in imagination. 

The summer has been a wonderful time of immersing our selves in books for pleasure. Chuck often comes home from work to find all of us sitting in the front room curled up with our own books, lost in some other time. It's peaceful. It's our happy place. He can't wait to join us. I'm so thankful we all share this love of reading and that it binds us together. Not only do we love to read together, we love to share what we learn from what we're reading. We have some of the most fun, informative, interesting, challenging, inspiring conversations based on what we're reading. 

#thankfulthisismylife

#lovebooks

Aug 11, 2015

Girls

8/11/2015 — cori

This has to be my single most favorite thing about having a girl - always holding hands.  We hold hands everywhere we go, on a walk, at the grocery store, downstairs to watch tv, while hiking, at church....there's really no place you shouldn't hold hands. And it's not of the 'protective variety' as you do when your kids are like 1 or 2 and you need to hold their hands to corral them and keep them safe while crossing a street or in a parking lot. It' s initiated by Chloe every single time. She wants to hold my hand.

When the kids were younger and I was being touched all the time all day long, it used to make me feel rather smothered.  But as they get older, no longer physically need me to help them with as many things, the less we touch, the more I miss it.  When the kids are little, you take for granted all the touching (carrying, kissing boo-boos, wiping crumbs off their face, cuddling, wrestling, rocking to sleep) and often times you wish you could have a break because it wears you out.

But as they age, the more touch you seem to crave. Both of you still need those assurances that you're wanted, needed, loved. I'm not a very 'touchy' person naturally but my children have taught me to be better at that. I once read that the older your children get the more they need you to purposefully touch them to remind them of how much you still love them.  Even though they are pulling away and trying to find their own independence, they still yearn for your gentle, calming, reassuring touch. 

With that in mind, I try to rub Gavin's back as often as possible, hug him when he leaves for school and when he comes home. Often times I catch him doing the same for me, initiating a hand hold, rubbing my arm, holding me close to him with his arm over my shoulder. Bennett is the King of Touch; actually, maybe only the Prince...his Dad wins the trophy for the King of Touch. But Bennett has to always hug me, multiple times a day...he needs it like he needs to breathe.  He always offers to rub my feet and hands. I am well aware of his love language.

But it's Chloe who always wants to hold my hand. I thought she would grow out of it and it would become 'uncool', but no, we're still holding strong.  Just today, while waiting at a stoplight, I saw a mom and her teenage daughter crossing the street...holding hands.  A huge smile came to my face. I know all about them now...they are connected.  They have a strong heart to heart bond and it comes out in wanting to hold hands all the time.  


It must be a girl thing.

Aug 6, 2015

Mall Girl Talk

8/06/2015 — cori
This shirt, like, totally describes my life right now. Like, you wouldn't even understand. 

See, like, everyday when the kids (like, especially Bennett and Chloe) are like, making their lunch and whatever...they like, talk all "mall girl" the whole time.  And I'm like, "Hey guys, like, are you speaking all valley girl?" 

And then they're like, "As if! That is so last year, Mom. It's called 'mall girl' now."  

So I'm all like, "Whatever!" 

And then Bennett's like, "That's totally, cra cra." 

So I'm like, "I don't even know what that means." 

And he's all, "I know, right?!" 

And then Chloe busts out with, "Oh no you dit-ent!" and he's all, "You know it!". 

So I go all cra, cra and join in with, "Can you like, not!" and then Chloe encourages me to keep up my old school valley girl with, "work it girl!"

Then Bennett looks at me and is like, "BT Dubs, I love you're hair girl. We're over!" 

So I'm like, "Whatever!"

We then head downstairs to eat lunch while we watch our daily episode of either House Hunter's International or Brain Games pretending the past 15 minutes never happened. It's highly unfortunate that I have yet to record these two cra-cra's talking like this because it is absolutely hilarious and goes on and on and on. Bennett has THE best mall girl voice and body language imitation. Figures. Some people have all the luck. 

The kids were literally shocked that I actually could match them with my valley girl speak, all be it ancient history. They may have new phrases now.  And I'm learning, but the voice, that can't be taught.  It's a gift.  And I'm workin' it! 

Remember....this is my lunch existence every day this summer. Have mercy on me. I can't help it any more. Sometimes it even rolls into our conversations while we're playing cards or riding bikes or making dinner. And then I'm all like, "Can you like, not!"



Aug 2, 2015

The Bike Date

8/02/2015 — cori
I think the inspiration for this date came from watching the kids' triathlon. We had been hoping to go on another biking date - time just hasn't been our friend.  And now that Chuck has a bike again (after last year's heart wrenching bike loss), we were excited to get back on the trails.  We had been wanting to try the infamous Minnehaha Trail system that goes all the way from Minnehaha Falls through the most beautiful parts of the city to the Trail of Lakes (Harriet, Calhoun and Lake of the Isles).  We were a bit over-ambitious in our goal setting. We felt that doing an 8.2 mile bike ride to Lake Calhoun from Minnehaha Falls would be no problem. We failed to take into account the need for water (which we didn't pack) and the amount of hills that needed to be biked up.  I don't like up. At least not on a bike.  On a hike, good.  Bike, not good.

One thing to know about me is that I bike for leisure.  Chuck bikes like a boy: pop-a-wheelies, the need for speed, zig-zagging, along with lots of risk taking and dangerous elements involved. I like to look at the flowers, stop and walk over to the creek bed and take a picture, put my brakes on going down a hill (cuz you don't want to go too fast). I'm sure I drive him batty. Obviously, I was behind him the whole way and we were both happy.  I got to smell the roses and take my time and he got to zip around all risk-takey like.

I mean, how can you ride past this and not stop to admire the beauty?!

And here's another perfect example of why you shouldn't go speeding by things on your bike.  You would miss hugging a gigantic cottonwood tree.  This thing was as big as some of the Sequoias we saw in the Sequoia National Park.

After many, many (*pant, pant*) miles...finally, our destination (and a snack) -  Lake Harriet

We rested our legs and bums by enjoying the view of the water and sailboats and ducks while drinking lemonade and eating a frozen smoothie bar.  I really hate complaining.  I don't let my kids do it.  And I try really hard 'to not to' (to quote Mater).  But sometimes, I really, really want to and this was one of those times.  My legs refused to work anymore.  Instead of our goal being overly ambitious, it suddenly seemed overly aggressive.  It seemed bad for my future well being to put my body back on that bike and ride another 7 or 8 miles from whence we came.  It seemed ridiculously impossible actually.  But I wasn't going to say anything. We are on a date and gosh darn it, we will have fun! 

We decided to head back to the Falls on a different, shorter route.  Unfortunately for us, this was not on a bike path but on city streets the whole way.  Fine for risk-loving-biker Chuck, not so much for smell-the-roses me.  As we're heading off Chuck stops his bike, gets off and asks me, "What would you think if I rode by myself back to the car and came back and picked you up?"  To which I replied, "You would be my hero." He was nervous to ask because he was afraid it would come across as if he thought I couldn't make the ride back.  In theory I could have.  It would have just taken a very, very, long time. And I may or may not have had a few tears in my eyes. I didn't want to ask him to ride by himself to pick up the car because I didn't want to appear as if I were complaining and giving him the impression that I couldn't do it when our kids just ran a triathlon.  I can do hard things.  But he was so sweet to give me an out.  And I took it.


Thankfully, we were at the Rose Garden when we had this impromptu change of plans. 

 So I camped out on a bench with my bike parked happily by my side and stared at this lovely scene.

I then walked my bike across the street and decided to sit at the Peace Garden because I like peace. 
It seemed like the perfect place to wait for a ride.  


 It took Chuck a good 30 minutes to get back to our car and another 30 minutes to drive back and get me.  He said I would never have made the ride back on the bike.  Apparently, it was all up hill with lots of street traffic. And since he knows me so well, he knew what was in my best interest.  Sitting at the Peace Garden and Rose Garden for an hour by myself saved our relationship in the long run.  

Thus was the end of our date. 

Pinky Swear

8/02/2015 — cori
This is one of the most amazing things we do all year.  Actually, we don't do it, the kids do.  They run a triathlon to help raise money for kids and their families going through cancer treatments.  Here's the story of the founder who started this 'pinky swear' with his son, Mitch, twelve years ago:



It is such a beautiful thing to watch 700 kids do something for others.  Something hard! Chloe and Bennett both had to swim 200 yards, bike 6 miles and run 1 mile. It was hard, but oh so worth it! Here's our morning of the triathlon in pictures:

Just getting from where we were able to find parking to the actual event was quite a haul! 
The event was held at Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis on a perfect 70 degree summer morning.

Getting all their gear set-up in the transition zone.

Checking out the water temps. Perfect.

A pre-race family picture.

The procession of 700 kids ages 6-18 walking to the staging area before the race begins.

The first leg is the swimming. They run from here to the transition area and get on their bikes.

This is Chloe's first year in the older kids bracket - much harder!  
But she can do hard things! At least she found out today that she could. 


He looks happy to be starting his 6 miles.

This is Chloe after finishing her 6 miles. Hard. To. Do!

Almost to the finish line.

Rounding the bend to the final home stretch.

Back with their super proud Mommy.

Jul 30, 2015

Lyndale Park Rose Garden

7/30/2015 — cori
Our plans changed last minute yesterday giving Chloe, Bennett and I unexpected free time. I knew instantly that we needed to take advantage of the gorgeous weather.  We packed our water bottles and headed for the Lyndale Park Rose Gardens.  It's a beautiful 64 acre park planted with the most amazing variety (250 to be exact) of roses. The park is so peaceful and visually stunning.  Just being there makes me happy.





I asked the kids to each bring their cameras/phones to take pictures because I wanted to see the park through their eyes.  This is the viewpoint I was privledged to behold:


When Bennett looks through the camera lens, this is what he sees.


And this is the view Chloe give us:




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