Welcome to the mayhem

Hope you enjoy your visit!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ely ,MN a Boundary Canoe Water Area

Ely, MN is a small town 6400 people at the top of MN.  It is 20 miles south of the Canadian border and headquarters to the Boundary Canoe Waters area.  It is a total tourist town.  It will be home to my son for three years when he goes to college.  
 When he goes to college there, he will get to wake up to critters walking around everywhere.  Even weasels under his car.
 Miner's Lake is within walking distance of campus.  There is another bigger lake within 5 minutes drive from here.

 Canoeing is the tourist business of the area.  Along with hunting and fishing galore.  This college is one of nine in the country that has the program that Kota wants to pursue, forest ranging at the national level.  This college is 18 hours away from home.  Three and 1/2 hours away from Grandma and Grandpa Crawford.

 I can't believe my first little chick is getting ready to go.  His plan is to move to MN after graduation.  My plan is to be able to let him go.  Good thing I have a year to get used to the idea.
Church is 50 minutes away.  I found he has an LDS couple in Ely, that owns a canoe outfitter.  Phew, a possible job and people close to help him when he needs it.  I love that about my church family...it's where ever my kids could possible go...no worries.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

On the Road Again

 We had a lot of seat time today as we went from Munising, MI to Ely, MN.  9 hours to be exact.  We stopped when we needed to stretch, one break was Agate Falls in the upper peninsula.  It was a nice little hike and got us out of the car for a few minutes.
 As we were driving through Ashland, Wisconsin we got to experience reddish lake water, Kota called it Gatorade water.  Anyhow, last week there was a giant rain storm that flood the areas around Superior.  It brought a lot of clay into the lake and turned it a reddish color.
 In Duluth, MN it actually washed out some of the roads and gave us our first detour on the way up to Ely.
 About a 1/2 hour from Ely we bump into our second detour of the day.  So much for the road they completely took it out and had us drive on this for miles, and miles, and miles....Wouldn't you know we only had a 1/4 tank of gas in the middle of no where too.
I'm not sure why we had to take this dirt road, when we could have driven on the other dirt road, but we made it.  Tomorrow we visit the college that Dakota would like to attend.  The town of Ely is great.  I'll take more pics tomorrow when we actually act like tourists.  I'm afraid it is so nice up here, I might not get my son to leave the state.  So the question of the night?  Do you pay for room and board at the college or buy a small home (folks were talking $40,000s for a decent little place) and gain equity and use it as a business venture?  Hmm...lots to think about in the next few months.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Upper Michigan Return

 I'm not sure why, but Mackinac calls our names a lot.  It truly speaks to our souls.  The beauty of these two great lakes bumping into each other get our vote for favorite vacation spots.  We are working on redoing our bedroom and I'm looking to do a beach theme and decided to grab black and whites of lighthouses while traveling around Lake Michigan and Superior.

 Today Mackinac was just a stop to stretch legs and take pictures.  The black and whites don't show the pretty blues of the lakes.
 We are on our way to visit Kyle's family in Minnesota and to visit a college Dakota thinks he might want to attend.  We are headed to Ely, MN and Munising is a 1/2 way point.  After 9 hours in the car we ventured out in Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore along Lake Superior.  We went to Sandy Point and found just wonderful drift wood every where.

 The kids enjoyed the frigid lake water and mostly stuck to the edge and played in the sand.  Kayla only approved this picture to be blog worthy of her.

 We hiked back to Munising Waterfall, it was gorgeous.  It was worth the 800 feet to get there. :)

 Castle Rock along the cliffs of Pictured Rock was gorgeous too.  The water was so blue it looked Caribbean.  I was expecting to look out along the lake and see Captain Jack Sparrow sailing the Black Pearl, but alas no pirates today.

Beautiful ending to a long sad week.  Such beauty always rejuvenates my soul and heals the heart.  I'm looking forward to more spectacular views in the next few days.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Goodbye Grandma, I Love You

Normalea Barber Steigerwalt (3 Oct 1931 - 18 Jun 2012) Married Grandpa 19 Oct 1952.

We had a shock of a call last night around 7:20 pm.  My sister called and told me to get to grandma and grandpa's house grandma just died of a heart attach and dad needs our help.

My thoughts were grandma, I think she said grandma, not grandpa who is in far worse shape?  I was numb and trying to comprehend the call while Kyle was driving us over there.  I was fine until I turned on to the road I grew up on most of my early life (15 of my first 18 years).  No more grandma?

We drove into grandma's yard as all the cousins I haven't seen for ages start arriving along with my aunts.  So many tear stricken hugs where exchanged and murmurs of, "I never see you until things like this, we need to get together more."

Poor grandpa who has Alzheimer's was trying to take it all in.  I think he knew what happened some of the time, but the rest of the time he was trying to figure out who we were.  There were a lot of us.  It amazes me how Heavenly Father works in times like these.  Grandpa is in a wheelchair most of the time and can walk with assistance or using a walker with help.  He managed to walk to the neighbors house to tell them he thought Mom (that's what he called grandma) was gone.  The distance is 3/4 of a football field away, how'd he make it there?  Amazing.

Grandma was a person who has a loud bark, but is loving and kind underneath.  As a young child she could be scary, but as a youth I learned to see through the bark.  I'd just say, now grandma, when she'd get to going and she'd laugh and calm down.  She barked at grandpa all the time, but they loved each other.  Grandpa would just grin and wink at us and then do whatever it was that grandma needed.  She was awesome at making us feel loved.  When ever we came in she would always take time visit and give advice if that was needed.  I often walked from my childhood home just to sit and talk with grandma.  She had a lot of good advice for a teenage girl who thought her parents didn't know a thing.

Grandma never forgot a birthday as we were growing up.  We could count on a birthday card always being in the mail on our birthday.  With mine being the day after July 4th, I often got my cards on July 6th, but not grandma's they we always there on my birthday.

We learned so much about life on the farm.  Our families would gather at grandmas when I was little to process the cattle or hogs so each family had meat in the freezer for the winter.  It was an all day affair that we each had little jobs to do no matter the age.  We'd gather for homemade ice cream on Sunday afternoons.  So many good memories of my grandma.

I'll miss you grandma.  God be with you until we meet again!

Monday, June 18, 2012

We Passed!

We did it.  What I thought was going to be impossible in August, we managed through hard work, dedication, and a whole lot of change, we passed our state mandated tests!  I had the biggest group of students with learning needs from beginning readers to advanced readers.  We had the most readers I've ever taught at the beginning to reading at a third grade level.  That in itself created a need to change what's always worked for me in the past.  Thank goodness I had an excellent teacher that co-taught this particular group of children with me.  She came from Florida with a lot of experience working with difficult emotional children, as well as, great resources for special education.

I learned so much from her as we progressed through this very difficult year.  Needless to say, all our hard work paid off.  We took a group of students who as a class had a 59% passage rate on their 5th grade tests, to 94% passing in 6th grade.  That is AMAZING!  I'm so proud of the kids and us for figuring it out!  This is why I teach, for the success when things are looking bleak!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Root Beer Float Cookies/Soccer

Root Beer Float Cookies
Make your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe or use mine (with a few modifications)
1 cup butter flavored Crisco (makes them fluffy)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar packed
2 eggs
Cream all of these together
Add 2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
Mix together
1 Tbsp. root beer extract (got mine at Walmart)
1 bag white chocolate chips
Mix well.  Bake 350*  for 10-13 minutes on parchment paper

I got this recipe from Rinda Perdue and it was a hit at the FHE meeting I went to this weekend with our new friends.  I cheated and made bars because I didn't feel like dipping cookies, and they all turned out great!

 Dakota played in his first ever soccer game Tuesday night.  He did okay for not knowing where to be.  There is something I like about the kids that play soccer.  They help each other, it really doesn't even seem like an imposition to them.  A boy on Kota's team kept encouraging him and reinforcing what he should do.  Same thing happened last year when Kayla started playing soccer last year.

When we arrived at the game there was no coach and not enough players.  One of the boys dad's filled in as coach.  Then several boys that played in the earlier game stayed and helped our team.  That was another gesture that I found comforting.  I hope Kota and his teammates will get to repay the favor some time.

With no coach and not a solid team we lost. 0-3, but it was still fun watching.  At first, when Kota told me he wasn't playing football I was disappointed.  I love football, the game, the intensity, the winning streak our boys have been on the past 3 years, hearing my son's name announce over the loud speaker under the Friday night lights.  It's all gone.

But, my dear, sweet husband reminded me that my children should have the right to choose what they want to do.  Yep, even if it's not what I had envisioned, it will be a great senior year for him.  And I will enjoy watching him learn and grow in something he wants to do.  Plus, with the two concussion of last year, this is the best choice he could have made.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Summer Break

 As the dust was settling from final paperwork at school.  I got to switch my focus from school to home.  I decided to start my spring/summer cleaning in the kitchen.  It took me hours to scrub, polish and organize all the piles I have been saving until I had more time to go through them.  It always feels good to get the deep cleaning done.  Windows and curtains are done in all my downstairs rooms.
 In the summer I usually try to make some extra spending money from things I collected over the year to help curb the teens extra things.  Sports fees, excursions, drivers ed, etc.  So I scour garage sales and see what I can come up with.  Ebay and Amazon become my office.  I usually end a making a few hundred dollars to use on the extra expenses.
 Sylis is getting so big.  He is jumping up or learning how to climb up onto things the cats usually just ignore.  He is starting to get his red shiny coat too.  He is supposed to be full grown by October.  He is eating a lot and his wild natures are coming out.  He tried to raid the trash can so we had to put it up where he can't get to it.  He also will run off with things and "bury" them in the couch cushions.  Then he digs them up by scratching them out of the cracks.
 One of my students gave me this pot of flowers on the last day of school.  She was one of the positive things from this school year.  Most days I was devoured by negative behaviors.  Students pushing their rights, entitled to reasons why they are learning what they are and how it will be useful to them in the future, testing and breaking every rule, pillaging the classroom and taking what they thing they deserve, no matter the owner.  Then making every one's life miserable when they have to suffer the consequence of their own poor choice.  I didn't get to pay much attention to the students who did everything I asked of them.  This particular student told her mother this was the best year ever for her, she learned more than she ever has in the past.  Wow!  I couldn't have had a better compliment after making it through this group of students.  She was such a pleasure to have in class.
 I was most excited about this find at the garage sales.  Dakota asked for a thermos for soccer, a blue one to be exact (Kayla's is red).  Found this one for $1.  :)
Kayla and I enjoyed a few girls only days while the boys were on their high adventure trip.  We did a lot of cleaning and she is in a geometry class for summer school, so she did a lot of studying.  So we decided to go see a movie and have a bit of fun.  When the movie was over she asked to stop at her favorite store in the mall.  We went in just to view the latest styles, not to buy.  We walked out with next years prom dress.  Why?  Because it was $30, regular $172.  I couldn't pass that up.  We are now in the market for a silvery bolero jacket to add some sleeves for modest and then we are all set.  I'm not sure why the Ohio retailers think our teenage daughters don't want to dress modestly, but they never have anything with sleeves.

We checked modestprom.com, but $30 vs. $300+, guess it's easier to add the jacket and save a few hundred dollars.  I love the beading on her dress and this one has the best neckline I've seen yet.

We only need to take a few inches off the length for our petite little fidget.  (She calls it fun-sized!)  All in all, it was a great first week off with a lot of fruitful endeavors.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Second Eighteen

Eighteen years ago on June 4th, I married my hubby.  I was only 18 years old, 1 month from 19, but still 18.  In my second 18 years I've learned so much about life, myself, and grew a beautiful family.  I was hurting when I got married.  My parent's divorced after being married for 19 years.  Even being a young adult, I was lost, hurting and had an overwhelming need to be in a family.  You know a functioning one.  Thank goodness Heavenly Father knew me well, before I knew Him well.  He sent Kyle from Minnesota looking for a wife at the time I was needing to be in a family.

Kyle left Minnesota looking for a wife and ended up moving in with his grandparents for awhile.  We both started working at Landoll's (a coloring book factory in Ashland).  We ended up going to a party at a mutual friends and talked to the wee hours of the night.  He was everything that I thought I wanted in a marriage.  Even down to the detail of wanting to name our first child Dakota.  Me because I thought the name was cool and Kyle because he wanted to name his son after him and Dakota is his middle name.

We dated for two weeks before Kyle sort of proposed to me.  Both of our parents thought we were crazy only dating a short time and setting a marriage date.  Kyle being 22 at the time of our marriage was ready, I was needing a family it all seemed too good to be true.  Kyle filled the void of my missing family.  He helped me get through the damage I wasn't expressing vocally about my parent's divorce.

With that divorce, I told him I don't ever want to divorce.  It doesn't matter how old the kids are it HURTS!  We have been through a couple difficult times in our marriage.  One after Dakota was born and I had postpartum depression.  I didn't know what postpartum depression was at the time and didn't know what was wrong with me.  I had the family that I was urning for a year earlier and couldn't figure out why I wasn't blissfully happy.  I got pregnant with Kayla when Kota was 9 months old.  This was very difficult for me until the ultrasound revealed a girl.  Then things came back around.

The second hardest time in our marriage was when we both lost our jobs within two months of each other.  We were in financial devistation.  We experienced hardship that could have driven us to divorce, instead we let it drive us into activity at church.  What could have been the worst time of our life financially, turned into the best time spiritually and built testimonies that have given us the resource of Prayer, and a knowledge of a Heavenly Father who loves us.  Some of our best memories in our marriage has come from the foundation of faith we have built as a family. 

Trials come and go in different degrees of difficulty, but we have found that when we rely on Heavenly Father as a couple and/or family everything works out.  What else could a person ask for in a marriage?

So what do you do for your 18th wedding anniversary?  You go watch your daughter play her first summer league soccer game of the year. 

Today we went to the Lotus to get Kyle his 1/2 price sushi and pork dumplings in the most awesome ginger soy sauce, while the teens went with their new ward friends to Cedar Point.  I love my life!