Friday, July 30, 2010

Vocations Camp Rewind

It's back to normal in our house today. And let me say, after a whirlwind couple of days, I'm glad it's Friday and looking forward to the weekend. Yes, the camp was wonderful and went really well, but it can be draining. And all we do is the cooking! Still, the camp has a way of blessing more than just the campers. After just two years of doing this, I must admit that we've really come to look forward to it as part of our summer.

The campers have gone back home, so I thought I'd share a brief glimpse of what Vocations Camp looks like around these parts.

Of course, there is Faith and Prayer

Plenty of time for Fun

And Food!!

(Cake was courtesy of a very talented lady from church. Quite Creative!!)

Obviously, a lot of time is spent contemplating this

By the end, we're all very tired

Some of us more than others

When all is said and done,

13 campers + 5 seminarians + 1 priest/Vocations Director =

A very successful Vocations Camp

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gone Camping

Well, actually I'm not Gone Camping or Gone Fishin'. We are however anticipating around 10 teenage boys, 4 seminarians and 1 priest to be going camping. We'll stay in our nice house with the A/C on and they can camp.

Starting tomorrow afternoon, we'll become cooks for this little camping trip just down the road from us until Thursday afternoon. It's time for Vocations Camp! Keep the campers in your prayers so they will all have a good time, be safe and be open to what Christ wants to speak to them during their time of camping/retreat.

I'll probably be back later this week, unless of course all of this cooking wipes me out. That's a lot of males to feed, but I've got plenty of help too!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Garden Tour

Stopping back in with garden updates from my little corner of the world. Some of these photos are from late last week that I didn't get posted and some are from this week.
Lilies of all sorts are in bloom in my garden and a new one is bursting open almost every day lately. Unfortunately, many of them I do not know the names of or they were ordered as a random mix from the seed company so there's no telling what the color actually is. Enjoy the blooms, despite the fact that they aren't quite as gorgeous as all of these gardens were!

Petite Daylily

Petite Daylily

Peach Fairy Lily

Our vegetable garden is doing pretty well, despite a couple of tomato plants having a little bit of blight already. Otherwise, the green and yellow beans are just starting to be harvested this week and I've already picked several bucketfuls and froze them for winter.

How does your garden grow? How are things looking in your yard? Share photos and leave a comment so I can stop on by your garden.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sunny Summer Days, Vol. III

There's nothing quite like summer in Minnesota. And there's nothing quite like the gardeners who make it their passion to cultivate their winter-hardy perennials. Being that my gardens have gradually grown over the years since hubby and I have been married, I can truly appreciate the endless labor of love another gardener puts forth. I also understand how those beautiful flowers help someone begin their green thumb and a hobby emerges.

My mom and I decided that a self-guided garden tour in a neighboring town would be worth a portion of our Saturday and would allow for a nice outing for us together.

So many of the gardens were in their prime and were flourishing with blooms. Gardens like these could almost make one envious, don't you think?

This raised vegetable garden has now made it to my 'dream garden' list and I think I will keep carefully prodding hubby about this one. Perhaps in a few years we could have a really neat gated, fenced in garden like this one.

This unique sitting area at a home in town especially caught my eye. I loved how they just raised it one step to take it off of ground level and it was just enough to create something different and serene. Of course, it also helped that this area looked out into another garden where there was a small fountain in the corner of their yard that gurgled softly. The only places I can picture this in our yard would be so infested with mosquitoes that we'd never get to sit there and enjoy it. Ah, a girl can dream.

This garden I appreciated because of the height of the flowers. Coneflowers and daylilies filled this garden and nestled there amidst them all was a simple birdbath/fountain. Very cute.

Remember that envy I mentioned earlier? Well, you can't help but have it when you go to strangers houses and you see so many neat ideas. So I took a few photos for the ideas and also to inspire my creative and handy husband for future projects. Yup, he really likes that. Well, he doesn't mind really. It's just that his list is so long of 'cute projects' that I have for him that he could spend until well beyond retirement age fulfilling them all.

The cascading and vining of this ivy over a homemade arbor was especially breathtaking. I can easily see several spaces in our yard that I would love to see this type of arbor.

I do think that this bench would make a very nice Christmas gift. Don't you?

At the end of the day, it was the perfect way to spend some mother-daughter time. We both really enjoyed ourselves. Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sunny Summer Days, Vol. II

Last week, a small family run zoo about a half hour away held a Beach Party and it made for a perfect adventure for the kids, myself and my dad.

The event was in honor of the return of their penguins and we arrived early enough to watch their morning feeding and even pet a penguin!

Although the heat definitely got the best of us by lunchtime, it was the ideal outing to add to our summer fun activities. Who can resist all of these fun animals and a discounted admission in honor of the penguins? Not us!

Don't forget these crazy animals!

A picnic, a playground and a little time in the shade are always a great way to end a summer afternoon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

If You Build It, We Will Come

Last Sunday our family hopped on a coach bus that our parish sponsored for a mini pilgrimage of sorts. A smooth ride, plenty of snacks, a church tour, Mass and a picnic with plenty of food were all provided at NO EXPENSE to any parishioners that wanted to attend. Lest you think our little country church is swimming in cash and you wish you could join St. Bart's ASAP, rest assured that this was the first event of this kind that has been offered. Quite nice though for our family of four.

I would highly recommend though, if you are within even a few hours drive of Sts. Anne & Joachim Catholic Church in Fargo, ND that you consider it very worth the drive. Afterward, a picnic and playground time for the kids should definitely be included at Lindenwood Park.

It was quite clear to me that a lot of planning had been put into this whole complex that besides the church itself includes a rectory, parish offices, social hall and gathering space. I'm also saying that a ton of work was put into beautiful liturgical planning of this church too. That was what I was looking at even more than the beauty and ideal use of the space. The rector took us all on a tour and pointed out so many corresponding symbols throughout the church. Had we not been invited for a full tour, my eye may not have been drawn to the simple complimenting features.

This parish also has a Sudanese Mass on Sundays and it had been planned ahead of time that we would be a part of that Mass. I couldn't even take photos to share. It would not even begin to share the sounds of that Mass. The songs were all sung in Sudanese with these beautiful voices. Far outnumbered, we were drawn into the solemn prayerfulness of this unique experience. It was a wonderful part of our pilgrimage.

I've put together a few collages of the church, but they hardly do it justice. I thought you might appreciate them though in case you have not seen this church or wouldn't be anywhere in the vicinity.

Inside the main body of the church

Daily Mass Chapel and Divine Mercy Eucharistic Adoration Chapel

Mural put together in five different pieces that is on the back wall of the sanctuary: God the Father & Angels at the top; the presentation of Mary on one side of the arch and the presentation in the temple of Jesus on the other; St. Joachim & Anne at Mary's Annunciation (with the angel above them whispering to them of Mary's birth) and the Annunciation with St. Joseph and Mary embracing.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


My posts this week will contain numerous photos. We've been fairly busy here, out and about and I've been snapping like crazy (photos, that is). If you are looking for a well thought out, insightful post, you probably will not find it here until September.

It's summer time in Minnesota and we're taking advantage of it. So, if you are tired of my photos, skip on past me this week. Otherwise, please stop on by for several photo update posts.

Of course I don't really want you to ignore me this week, I like to see that you stopped in when I see my Sitemeter counts. You know, we bloggers like to keep score like that. We're high maintenance that way. *wink*

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Status Report

Just three days after their first lesson, Lily is doing much better. Oh this mama is thrilled! She officially bobbed in the water along with the other little swimmers today. Hooray! Her head was fully immersed in the water at several intervals during today's lesson. We are so proud of her!

Today she looked more like this:

Maybe she just needed the goggles? That did seem to help today.

And Jonah is thriving as well. He still loves his lessons and his mid session report said that he's a very good listener and cooperates well. Every day he looks like he's really enjoying himself.

Today was the first day that he looked a little unsure when his class put on their life vests and they were told to jump in the water. Eventually though, he trusted them and he did it. I think he liked it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Complete Opposites

First day of swim lessons were this afternoon and I'm dreading tomorrow. Not for the child I assumed would have *issues* with lessons (ie. little boy).

Him? Oh he did fabulous. COULD NOT believe it! He cannot wait until his lesson again tomorrow. He even prayed a prayer in the van that the rest of today and tomorrow morning would go fast so that he could get to his next lesson! Seriously. I think I even saw him smile at his teacher today. That is saying A LOT, my friend. In his defense, I do sense that those Teenie-Bopper high school girls kinda have a thing for my little man. Heck, I do too a lot of the time. He spent his time splashing along with all of his other little new-to-the-pool comrades. I daresay he also looked more relaxed in the arms of a complete stranger than he does in mine or daddy's when we take him out swimming. Now that's interesting.

I really wasn't expecting to see this today. If you know Jonah, you'd know that he isn't exactly Mr. Eager To Make New Friends. For him to even touch another child that he just met is pretty monumental, let alone hold hands! Reed and I couldn't believe it when we saw it!!

And her? You want to know how lessons went for her today? Well, did you read the title of this post?! I will say that I must be thankful that it really wasn't THAT BAD, but considering that she's almost eight years old I figured lessons would be much easier on her than her brother. But wouldn't you know that Level 1 requires you to put your face in the water quite often. And my Paralyzed-in-fear-deathly-afraid-of-getting-her-face-wet girl would not stand for it. Between shivering cold (I think that was partly from nerves) and on the verge of complete lock-down, she actually did pretty darn good. The other stuff was easy for her and she even looked like she had fun, but as soon as she was asked to blow bubbles in the water or put her face in she dug in her heels and she would not budge. Thankfully, she has patient and gentle teachers. I just hope that she can get past this stumbling block. I really shouldn't have expected anything less since she has hated to get her face wet all her life. I just was so hopeful that the least of my worries would be my little girl.

Thankfully, tomorrow's a new day. I just hope that my stubborn girl doesn't dig her heels in even further.

Maybe I should look up the patron saint of swimmers. I think we need him or her desperately!

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