(hey, I’m a writer by trade. Allow me an intro?)
Some views of my birthday weekend, camping at The Old Barn Resort in southeastern MN.
We spent virtually every waking moment outside.
My kinda weekend … words or not.
We’re always looking for a reason to go “up north,” so we were thrilled Julia’s soccer team signed on for the Gitchi Gummi Soccer Tourney in Duluth. It was a perfect weekend on Gitchi Gummi (Native Americans’ name for Lake Superior) and just hangin’ together.
The only thing missing? Our boys. The summer “honey do” list beckoned Greg, so he and Matt stayed home. Word is they got in a little golf.
Of course we also left the pooches at home. Here’s one of our “pets,” who we fed from our little balcony.
The other end of I-35
Very near our home, Interstates 35E and 35W merge to become I-35 again and head due south to places like Kansas City.
For this trip, we travelled to the other end, where I-35 eases into London Road and the North Shore. In fact, we stayed at The Edge, right at that intersection. Caroline is certain Lady Gaga was just there, too, and it inspired her latest hit:
If you stay at The Edge, ensure you’re in the new part, splurge for a suite, bring crackers and cookies for the seagulls, enjoy the pool and waterpark–and say hi to Tiki Tom for us!
Friday evening, we met a teammate’s family for dinner at the legendary Grandma’s Restaurant in Canal Park. The girls had happy memories of our visit there last summer. We returned there for lunch on Saturday with most of the team, and even got to see the lift bridge in action for a huge German ship!
Soccer amidst the pines
The Jean Duluth Soccer Complex is a nice venue for the “beautiful game.” The girls played beautifully, too, winnning their bracket on Saturday against teams far above our level. (We signed on for this tourney to get some tough competition in the middle of our season. And we got it!)
Saturday evening we had a team potluck, poolside. It was those perfect summer nights … the kind we dream about in January.
Sunday, we played one more game, then headed home — tired, sunburned, smiling, and with happy memories to sprinkle our dreams this next January!
Our Julia Elizabeth.
Pre-teen and pre-game.
She’s got a water bottle I hope is full, incredibly smelly extra soccer socks, more color-coordinated hair bands, the “other” jersey, Chapstick and duffel tags from dozens of other soccer tournaments.
I’m just toting the camera and a chair to perch on the sideline. But I’m carrying the terrified thrill of new-mom joy at our incredibly pink, raven-haired newborn; our first night in the hospital when I fell head-over-heels in love; toddler trials like the time I locked her (and the car keys) in the car, which was long before OnStar; hilarious preschool antics; magical moments baking in the kitchen (salt is not the same as sugar); the evening she read her first book “all by myself” ; every scrap of paper she ever scribbled a masterpiece on; and the more recent image of her sunburned shoulders draped in white hotel sheets while she slept this morning.
She doesn’t carry all that. She’s headed to the field, her teammates and the action of another hour of play.
I’m eager to take in another batch of memories to carry with me forever. And take the edge off the teen-age years while I try to focus on the simple, blessed, pure joy that first night in the hospital … yet again.
Remember the musical, Oklahoma! ? When Will Parker gets back from Kansas City and sings his experiences? Refresh your memory:
We went to Kansas City over Memorial Day weekend to cheer on our Julia and her soccer team in the Kansas City Invitational. Here’s my version of the lyrics:
We went to Kansas City on a Friday
By Saturday we’d learned a thing or two
But up ’till then we didn’t have an idea
Of what the youth soccer world was comin’ to.
We counted 30 soccer fields; 12 that were turf
Those got a little hot and steamy ~ whew!
An’ then we saw the competition ~
Girls with power and with grace
This IS the Beautiful Game at a gorgeous place!
Chorus (hum along!):
Everything’s up to date in Kansas City
They’ve gone about as fer as they can go
They went an’ built a speedway that seats 80 thou’
‘N right next door, a waterpark ~
Schlitterbahn is one cool spot!
Everything’s like a dream in Kansas City
It’s better than a weekend at home
We had some tasty KC barbeque (don’t ask Jaecy, she got ill)
Hung out by the pool, tried bisquits/gravy ‘n hush puppies
Made great memories with treasured friends!
We played a lotta soccer in Kansas City
Won one, tied one, lost one (in the heat)
We showed ’em what MN soccer girls are made of
And left tired, happy, smiling (and with very hot feet!)
Everything’s up to date in Kansas City… Yes, Sir!