Tag Archives: Travel

Hand and Foot

Hand and Foot is the favored card game whenever my family gets together so naturally when beth and I counted the hours and realized we had seven hours to kill at the airport, we bought 3 overpriced decks of cards, found a quiet patch of carpet behind a pillar and started shuffling.

Everyday I am shuffling shuffling… Is that song stuck in your head now? Good, it is stuck in my head too. Misery loves company.

Don’t know how to play hand and foot? I started writting out our family’s version of Hand and Foot but as it ends up writing out instructions is really hard. Really really hard. I didnt get past the dealing of the cards before i googled the rules of hand and foot. Here is the link I found. Our version is slightly different but the essence of the game is there. If you have a different version p!ease leave your instructions in the comments. Sometimes when we are feeling adventurous we like to mix it up a bit and tweek the rules. We are crazy like that.

We killed a good hour playing. It was as much fun and killing time in an airport can get with out the assistance of a well mixed bloody Mary.


The time we went to Noah’s Ark and back in a day

Noah’s Ark Water Park is America’s largest water park and it is (according to Google) 3 hours and 11 minutes from our house.

Yesterday we drove down and back. We spent almost equal amount of time in the car as we did in the water park but let me tell you…. it was so worth it. We had planned on staying in a hotel that night in the Dells but at 4pm the kids were exhausted – they wouldn’t admit it but they were burnt out. We pushed through another hour but in the end 7 hours in a water park is the limit for our family right now. Tim and I debated, and in the end we both decided that making the drive home and sleeping in our own beds would be much more restful than checking into a hotel room, leaving the hotel room to find ample sustenance for all of our weary, starving, dehydrated bodies, and then get the kids to sleep and then have to sit silently in a dark room until we fell asleep too. Yeah. The drive home was the right choice. Plus it thunderstormed last night and Lucy would have been scared into a traumatized state if she would have been left home alone to weather a storm (we paid neighbor boy to come let her out a few times and give her some love while we were gone.)

Water parks are not slr camera friendly. First of all those kinds of cameras are expensive and not something you want to risk being stolen. And second well, it is a water park; water and cameras don’t mix well. At least most cameras….

It is my birthday is 6 days from now. When we were in Minot my very generous and thoughtful Grandpa (I have wrote about him here and here and here) gave me an early birthday card with the message written on the envelope, “don’t open before July 27th unless you need to“. Well curiosity got the best of me (and I must say I lasted two weeks so that is pretty darn good!) and I opened the card on Friday morning when I should have been packing for the water park. In the card was a check with note that said, “spend it on yourself.” Do I have the best Grandpa or what?! Well I knew right away what I was going to buy.

I have been researching water proof cameras because so much of our time is spent in water and I want to be able to capture that time with out risking my Canon. I also wanted a camera that was small and could take a beating. In the end I chose this Olympus Tough. There are nicer Olympus Toughs on the market but in the end the TG-630 did what I wanted it to do, the price was right (Happy Birthday to me and Thank you Grandpa!) Target had one in stock that I could buy that afternoon.

I am telling you all of this because LOOK what I can do now!


and look at her ruffled bum ūüôā

The photos are so fun and we took so many that Tim and I spent this afternoon’s quiet play time making a little somethin’ somethin’. Music is Glowing by Ben Drake which I¬†found on Jamendo (we have talked about that site here). I edited the photos and Tim cut together this super cute video.

Happy Early Birthday to me. Thank you Grandpa for the card with the reminder that it is okay to splurge on myself once in a while and for the money to put towards my indulgent splurge. This photo I was able to take of Elise and I WHILE riding the this water slide is a great reminder that my pending 30th Birthday is not such a bad thing after all but rather something to celebrate!


more photos here and probably a post or two about the day coming this week.


Cabin Scavenger Hunt 2013

The objective: Be the first to cross everything off your list and ring the dinner bell. 

The List:

  • Rock the size of child’s hand
  • stick the length of child’s arm
  • pic of a cow
  • pick 5 different wildflowers
  • pic of square corner fence post
  • pic of evergreen/Christmas tree
  • pic of wagon wheel
  • pic of old farm windmill
  • pic of Grandpa’s school-house
  • write names in gravel driveway
  • pic of mailbox
  • pick 5 different types of leaves
  • pic of gate made of barbwire
  • fill baggie with water
  • pic of child on Uncle Dean’s picnic table
  • pic of tractor


The Teams: 

Patrick, Nama and Papa

Michael, Beth and Ashley

Elise, Tim and I


On your Marks. Get Set. GO!


Our team, while still feeling the competitive spirit and showing lots of hustle, took a little more time taking a “pic” of each of the stops on the list. In fact I would go as far to say that we took photos not pics.

Tim, “Show me WINNER!”








This racing is tough work! Tim gets total credit for this photo. She needed a break (It was ridiculously hot and humid) so I picked the flowers while she cooled off.


“GO MOMMY GO! FIND FLOWERS!” (tall grass was a little to itchy for the Princess sporting shorts)



Rest time over – Game face time!


Not quite halfway there.


Our teams strategy was to do all the stuff we could around the cabin first and then hit the dirt roads to get the things that were farther away. We thought we were pretty clever… and then this…

  • pic of gate made of barbwire

yeah. We were not thinking ahead because the..

  • pic of old windmill

is located behind the barbwire fence and that gate is a bitch. 

This is the scene we raced to catch up to. Notice the truck (Patrick, Nama and Papa) and the other 4weeler (Michael, Ashley and Beth) were already at the gate. I told Tim to floor it because I knew if we got stuck with the gate we were screwed.



Here is team Patrick feeling smug and laughing above the roar of the 4wheeler and truck engine.


They didn’t stop as they passed us, they only slowed down enough for my Dad to shout, “MAKE SURE YOU CLOSE THE GATE!”


That is his, “I mean business face – notice my mom laughing in the background.

Elise braved the grass long enough to stand miserably for this photo. This was a mistake because we could have caught Team Michael if we would have waited to take this photo until after we got the windmill pic.


They shouted the same thing to us that my Dad did while cruising by us. Beth knew just as well as I did that the gate would make or break a team. Can you tell which teams were in it to win it?!


We quick snapped a few photos at the old windmill and I hopped back on the 4wheeler knowing that the gate was going to be our team’s demise….


And it was. The windmill is where we lost the game. At least the photo turned out cute.


Admittedly, I took a good half-dozen photos of Tim trying to close the stupid gate before I climbed off the 4wheeler to help. We got it closed after a good 10 minutes of cursing farmers and their inefficient gates. We got it closed but not correctly. In the end my Dad had to go back and fix our botched job.

The humidity was horrible and we could hear distant rumblings of thunder coming our way, so to avoid getting drenched on the final leg of our scavenger hunt, we sped up our photo taking process for the last few stops.

No kiddo in this pic.

Notice the white building in the far distance? That is the school-house my Grandpa attended as a child. We cheated by using my awesome zoom on my camera instead of driving all the way out to the school.


I had to crank up the ISO to compensate for the zoom/shaky hands, but I am happy with how this shot turned out.




We only had one thing left on our list. Cows. I wouldn’t call this cheating, I like to think of it as creative problem solving. You see the closest cows would have been at least another couple of miles¬†on the 4wheeler and the storm was closing in so….


…we raced back to the cabin and ran up to our room and dug through the toys until we found what we were looking for…

  • pic of cow – check!

The other teams had long been done. They finished so far ahead of us that they had enough time to go and fix our botched gate job, have a drink and a snack. We still wrung the dinner bell and Elise still shouted, “WINNER!”


The preliminary results of the First of Many Scavenger Hunts were this:

1st place: Team Patrick

2nd place: Team Michael

3rd place: Team Elise

However, when it came time to review the winner’s stash of proof they came up short. My mom still claims they stopped at the mailbox, but there was no picture proof so they were disqualified. That is right, we are hard-core. Just watch my family play a game of cards and you know how seriously we take our game, “A card laid is a card played!”

So the winning team was:


Did I forget to mention that I made a trophy while everyone else rested up pre-scavenger hunt? Well I did and it is awesome.


From what it sounds like there was quite a foot race at the end between the first two finishing teams. It would have been fun to see that but we enjoyed out photo scavenger hunt at a slow and steady pace. The turtle lost this race but next year we are coming back with smarter strategy in order to keep up with the hares!


My goodness look at that hair. I flat ironed it that morning but the humidity was so bad that my hair poofed out and started to look like fluffy cocker spaniel ears. Uffda. Oh well. The scavenger hunt was a hit, and even the men had a good time. I hope this is the first of many.

We will take this photo again next year as victors and with my hair pulled back into a pony!!

4th of July 2013 Part II

We couldn’t wait for the sun to set. The kids and the adults were exhausted from a full day. It was 9 pm and we started shooting the bigger fireworks even though it was still bright out.


There was a time when her profile made my heart ache, now I don’t see a scar all I see is beauty.


My man.


We killed a little time by asking Beth to take family photos. The kids didn’t appreciate the forced photo-op in the middle of their fireworks show.


We got a few smiles by posing silly.


Parachutes were a favorite. I remember racing my cousins and Beth to get the parachutes. Good times. Somethings never change.


In my family everything is funny after 6pm. We are not night owl by any definition. We were all a bit delirious at this point.


I don’t know what my Grandma was laughing at, but I love this photo of her.


My Dad and Beth did all the work while the rest of us sat back and enjoyed the show.


This is how PJ watched my Dad light up the sky until he gave up and went inside to play legos.


The sun finally setting.


Cozying up to Nama for a bedtime story.


My Dad.


I posted this in his birthday letter but I love it so much that I am posting it again.




I spent Independence day with my family on the land my Great Great Grandparents homesteaded over 100 years ago. I am blessed.