Sunday, March 30, 2014


Today was our day! Opening exercises in primary presented by the Horne children, courtesy of spring break.

More from Minnesota

We had time to do so many fun things before we left Minnesota, this is going to be a long post.

After family lunch in Alexandria, we headed to the mall to get our nails done.  We took the little girls, and Audrey did great on her first trip to the nail salon.

After nails, we headed Minneapolis to be close to the airport.  Anna and Kate had early flights out in the morning, but we got one last dinner and hotel hangout in.

Since it was my birthday, Eric spoiled us and picked a super sweet hotel attached to the Mall of America.  It was awesome!  It really helped to not have to go outside too.  We parked our car and didn't have to move it again until we left.  Pretty sweet.

Inside the Mall of America is a theme park-Nickolodeon Universe.  I am pretty sure it was just how it was when I was a kid, but updated to more current Nick shows.  My kids don't know the Nick shows (we're more Disney Junior people), but they didn't seem to let it get in the way of their fun:

Also in the Mall of America, is an American Girl Doll store.  There is one near us in Washington, but I have never been.  I've heard it's fun to eat in their cafe, but that it is impossible to get reservations.  Can't be too impossible, because we got some!  It was pretty darn fun.  And super cute.

Of course there is a Lego store, which I thought was heaven on earth, until we found: The Barbie Dreamhouse Experience.  Oh. my. word.  Happy birthday to me.

Audrey refused to be in the picture, looks like she showed me:

The Dreamhouse was everything a girl could dream up, and then some.  The very best part was Barbie's closet (duh!).  They had a "mirror" that you could stand in front of, and it would superimpose Barbie's warddrobe over you.  The kids got a good kick out of it.  It was a bit glitchy though, and sometimes the clothes would "attach" to someone off screen.  This little malfunction came to a comedic high when Amos found himself wearing Barbie's bikini!

They had every Barbie thing you could imagine, her car, her vespa, her RV, her fashion house, her stage, her catwalk, her kitchen, and even her elevator.

Entertainment world was a real hit.  There is some live action on our YouTube channel if you're so inclined.

The kids loved getting dressed up and performing.  They were hilarious.  Particularly Amos.  Homeboy is down with Barbie ;)

I think the only thing I would change is a little more time resting in the hotel.  There was so much to see and do.  We were go-go gadget and I am still not recovered.   Oh well, I can sleep when I am dead, right Dad?

This chair was in the hotel lobby.  Mags dug it.  She's funny.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Minnesota in March

Last weekend, we very unexpectedly had the chance to go to Minnesota.  I went to Minnesota for two weeks every year of my childhood, but never once was it in the winter time.  Very wise on my parents' part. 

The main reason for the trip was to attend my Grandmother's funeral.  The incredible upside was that we got to see a lot of family.  Our family is really spread out, so it was a really special time to be together.  The funeral was held in my parents' hometown of Fergus Falls, MN.  There's a lot of history for both families there, and all four of my grandparents are now buried there.  My sister, Liz, and her daughter, Morgan, came.  My sister, Kate, brought her brand new baby, Zack.  And Anna brought Charlie.  It's rare that the four of us were even in the same place!

The reverend that conducted the funeral was a great character.  He was my grandmother's spiritual leader in the home where she lived, and I can see why she liked him.  Sometimes while talking, he would spontaneously burst into song.  It was great.  I really enjoyed the stories shared during the funeral, especially from one of the workers where she had been living.  My grandma was a sassy lady.  She had a super quick wit and was always fun to be around.  I didn't get up to share during the funeral, but if I had, I would have said that I laughed more and harder around her kitchen table in my grandparents' cabin than anywhere else.  She also taught me what skinny dipping was.  Lots of laughing then too.  Mostly because I didn't know what a "birthday suit" was.  I guess she taught me that too ;)

We got a police escort from the funeral home to the cemetery.  Once we convinced Amos the police officer behind us was not trying to pull us over, he was thrilled.  If you look closely you can see the police car in the front in this picture:

Entering the cemetery:

God bless Fergus Falls:

Graveside was short, given the arctic environment.  It was SO cold.  A good excuse to huddle close together though.

Kate was a good sport and rode in the back of our car:

After the funeral, we got to spend some really great time with my aunts, uncles, and cousins.  They were really great to make time for us in the middle of all of the chaos.  We sure enjoyed it.  My aunts have my grandma's quick wit too.  They always have good stories.  They really should take up blogging ;)

We enjoyed sitting around the pool while the kids swam and the babies got held.

On Saturday, we got together for lunch, and had a great time.  We're quite the crowd:

Ward fell asleep in Sharon's arms.  It was the second time during the weekend he fell asleep in someone's arms.  He'd never done that before in his life!

We managed to get a 'Shaver' sisters (minus Meg) picture too:

It was great for us to get together.  It's been too long...

La Diabla speaks

There is much to be blogged, but that'll happen tomorrow.  For tonight, an Audrey anecdote:

Today at Costco, Audrey was sitting in the cart while I was loading the groceries onto the belt.  Very sweetly (but loudly) she asked,

"Mom, do boys wear earrings?"

I didn't have to look up to know what she was looking at.  Sure enough, though, right beside her was a quite studly (pun intended) guy.  He had diamond studs in both of his ears.  Since he'd obviously heard her, I looked at him and said,

"I think she likes your earrings."

His reply, 

"Well, there goes my street cred."

Guess he doesn't know Audrey by her street name: la diabla.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Kids in the Yard

We've had some beautiful days here lately, and the kids' passion for the great outdoors is reawakening.  There was nothing particularly notable about their playing outside today, but I think these pictures aptly captured the four-ring circus that is my life. 

The wideshot:

Close-up of this guy hunkered down in the bush.  He's holding an apple, an orange, and the neighbors' dog's ball.  He's wearing his jammies and his sister's rainboots.  Seems about right:

Maggie chasing non-existent butterflies:

And, Amos scooting along:

Audrey's picture was no good, but I should mention, she was also wearing her jammies.