(mostly) Wordless Wednesday

(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.

My Amish-made birthday "cake" from a serene, lovely Amish woman at the Lansboro Farmer's Market

The Land of Gitchi Gummi

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.

Girlz weekend

My fondest memory of the weekend: Breakfast together overlooking the lake. In our jammies.

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!

Grandma’s x2

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!

Celebrating their big upset win on Saturday ~


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!)

Coach Tom checks in his team


Emilie, Julia, Elise ~ These girls are strong, feisty, smart and really know how to have fun. I've loved getting to know all these neat young ladies.

Caroline & Emilie, who is a great, ahem, writer (?!)
My fellow fan and her sun parasol
Perfect sun all weekend: We went from thick sweatshirts at our hotel to tank tops at the soccer fields. Vintage North Shore weather!

 Superior sunset

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!


The things she carries

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.

The dog blogs: Rev’s 1st camping trip (in his own words)

I knew something was up when my mom packed up my food in a baggie. Then my people packed ME in. My first camping trip! Wanna hear ’bout it?

You would not BELIEVE all the trees I had to mark. Luckily, my people walked me often.
I ate a red 7 UNO card. Not much flavor. Next time I'll try blue. Or a 2.
My cousin Allie slipped me a bit of her S'more. So did my fav boy, Matt. Good stuff.
That Caroline girl slipped me some of her S'more. I think I still have marshmallow on my ears.
My aunt and uncle, Amy + Dave.
Since my people were snoozing on all the other surfaces, I figured this was my place to crash. I got scolded. Apparently it's a table. The next night, I found a bed.
Me with my best friend Mollie. She's a pro at this camping stuff.
We went to my Grandma Donna's house (very near the campground). They even made pancakes for me and Mollie.
I love my people. I think I still have syrup on my ears.
My dad brought us down to the beach.
I can dog paddle!
My people did the boat paddle!
Mol towed Caroline.
Strolling back to our campsite behind my people.


My Julia found a new pet. I was a tad jealous…


…until she scooped me up. I love my Julia!


Caroline and Allison cast me in another of their theatre productions. This time, I was a wolf!

 Now, I’m happy to be home. And can’t wait until I notice my people packing my food again. I’m one happy camper.

Everything IS up to date in Kansas City

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.

Caroline and Matt enjoying the "architecture"

Even the parking lot signage tells you this is BIG TIME soccer!


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!

My fav defender

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! 

The wave pool rocks!

One of the few times she came up for air.

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!

The NoDak boy and MN girl in KC, now happy to be back home in the northland.