Sunday, November 3, 2013

Our Very Busy Autumn...or How Many Miles Can We Hike Before Snow Flies?

This has been a very active Fall for us full of many changes.
(if you came to read the k update, just page click here  k blog...or read about our simple little lives if you've time...)
Maeve is full time PSEO at Winona State. 
At age 16, that's pretty neat!  
Sorcha began the process of on-line classes through Minnesota Virtual Academy and is home everyday learning about the world in the spare bedroom, now her study room!
Fionn, well, he WISHES he could be home schooled...sorry, buddy, that's what mommy does ALL day and I do not want to do that when I get home...maybe when you are in 9th grade you can do what Sorcha is doing!  



My Hubby, John, does so LOVE to hike!
So we took it up a level and actually backpacked!
He is carrying 50 lbs and I am lugging 30...
plus we hiked UP UP UP the bluff between Stockton and Minnesota City 
 It took us much longer than we planned to get up that bluff so we ended up setting up camp in the dark...when I say we, I mean John...

 This is a sign of TRUE LOVE...
He surprised me with a port-a-loo!
Yep, he lugged that ALL the way up in his pack...geez, I've got a good husband!

Plus he does all the cooking on these adventures...

Here is where we slept...in Hennessy Hammocks!
They are seriously the coolest thing I have seen in awhile....
John set them up for the FIRST time IN THE DARK 
in about 5 minutes per "tent"
Can you imagine not having to find a dry or level spot to make camp?  How cool it that?  

 Plus when you are not curled up inside 
(yep, there is an inside...what you see is the fly dropped)
they make nice little camp chairs!

Here I am ready to head out again!
This hike was about 10 miles...not too bad!



This is Fionn and John peeling MORE apples...
The kids peeled over 100 apples for dehydrating of which 
there are NONE left...they ate 100 apples worth!
WOW!

Here is Sorcha's last High Project at Lewiston...
one she enjoyed completely...her egg vehicle!
It had to hold an egg, be "shot" into a wall, and have the egg survive in one piece...SUCCESS!

See these less than happy campers? 
I made them come with me to a "cow puja" celebration outside of Rochester...it was the blessing of the cows in the Hindi tradition.
Plus there were crafts and food.
 The cow to be blessed was painted so pretty...
 I had a nice time anyway.
There was crafts and food, remember?
Party Poopers.

Here they are smiling again!
Who doesn't love pumpkins?  


I am still doctoring....yuck...but it is the price I chose to pay instead of receiving radiation.   So no complaining...just explaining why I am so bruised this year!


On a whim, I called my step dad in Holmen to see if he wanted to go with me to see a TEN FOOT APPLE PIE!
No kidding!  My Auntie came, too
(my mom was sick or she would have been here also)

 Just look at that yumminess!


John and I still walk most evenings
(doctor's orders)
and what lovely colors we are seeing now the days are getting so much shorter....beautiful!


Sad sad day for us as Chula Vista was closing down!
 The girls bought the artwork right off the walls as a remembrance of all the good times we had at that little Mexican Restaurant!

 My momma and step dad wanted to take us to the Hmong New Year celebration in Onalaska...what an interesting and colorful event!
 The above pic is of Fionn and I waiting in line for egg rolls.


Here we go again...another hike!
Billy goes with us a lot...he is a good little hiker!

See how well my incision is healing?
I can hardly use it for sympathy points anymore....geez,
I should have milked it a little more while I had the chance!
 Yep, out hiking again...

 This time for a purpose....Bittersweet!
 We got a trunk full!


During MEA, Sorch and I headed to Indianapolis to see Shae and my Grandbabies!

Of course we had to swing into Wisconsin Dells to see Lee first!
 I LOVE LOVE LOVE that guy!


Yay! Finally here after 10 hours in the car!
 Calla and Wren just love Sorcha!

This is my baby and her baby!
 and Calla peeking out below...

I was so lucky to be able to do all the fun Grandma things I wished I could do...playdough, painting, reading, app playing...just snuggling!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this little family!

We staged this pic with me between Shae and Chris on their 5 year wedding anniversary!  Poor kids had to stay home with me!


 Here is Sorcha lugging the bittersweet into Shae's yard.
 We crafted while the kiddos napped...
 and supper cooked...MMMM!

The last thing we did together was go to a park to a 
Non-haunted night time trail walk.

 This is the Nature Conservatory where it was held.
We are waiting for darkness...
 Cool!  The way was lit with pumpkins!
The mile and a half walk was filled with "animals" 
telling us their story and the role they play in the woods.
What great actors these people were!

 At the end of the walk, we roasted marshmallows, drank apple cider, decorated pumpkins, and ate treats!
A perfect end to a lovely visit!

Wren and her cousin, Macy....

 Yep, almost ran out of gas on the way home...
seriously, there is a 40 mile stretch about half way home  were you cannot get gas right off the highway...YIKES!

Of course we stopped in the Dells again...Lee treated us to 
Moose Jaw Pizza!

 He is the kitchen manager...go there and say hi!


Back in Minnesota, we went down to the Mississippi to see the 
American Queen...oh, how I'd love to be a passenger one day!


 Then we went to the Big Muddy Rendezvous.
You might not know this, but John was a reenactor for 2 decades.  
Only recently has he not had the time to do this fun and educational hobby.
Yep, we used to dress up, too, and be right beside him....

The first annual Trunk or Treat was a hit!
 There were 21 "trunks" and over 200 children!
 I was thrilled to be a small part of this community event!

Pumpkin carving is my favorite....
don't you just love Fionn's Pumpkin Pi?



Yep, another hike...this time the entire St.Mary's University trail system...it was a bit more than 4 miles....and BEAUTIFUL!

lunch... 




What is more fun than a rope across a stream?

Photo
I know...a rope across a stream with your screaming wife attached to one end....geez, I live dangerously!
(ya, John would say it was a piece of cake, no danger at all...
I say he has NO imagination...)
Marcia O'Duggan
During the whole cancer chapter in our summer,
people were so thoughtful and generous.
It was humbling.
When the big kids came home to be with me,
they stopped in Chicago and bought me two Giordano's Pizza Pies!
I cried like a baby in the yard.  Just sat there and sobbed as I was so touched at yet another kindness!
Pretty sure they thought their mom had gone off the deep end.

So today I ate that last pizza...and I shed not one tear!
Oh, it was sooooo good!
Thank you again, my sweets!

So ends another busy busy September and October for us.
Look for the next adventures coming soon!

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