Sunday, July 17, 2011

First half of the sumer...GONE ALREADY!

Summer is flying by and I haven't had much of a chance to update this in the last month or so.  We have been busy enjoying life and enjoying the nice warm weather!  I won't comment much, but upload some pics of what we've been up to the last six weeks or so. 

We went on a wine tasting out on Prior Lake one evening in June, and ended up having an impromptu little boat cruise of our own.  I didn't know if any of these pictures ever turned out until I uploaded them tonight and I had to share!  It was one of those nights that you don't have any expectations for and then turns out to be one of the best ever!!

Jen and Mark dancing and singing to Margaritaville!!

Mark doing his famous, and terrible, dance move!!  This is probably only funny to me, and a handful of others, but my brother is just the worst dancer ever, and this is his classic move!

Jen, Heather and Jeff.  Poor Heather looks so tired!!

We also spent a weekend up north with our good friends Scott and Megan, at their family cabin.  It was a beautiful weekend and we had fun playing by the lake and relaxing.

Dixie and I cuddling.

Dano eating breakfast with Dixie.

Dixie and Lucy looking cute...and actually getting along!!

Scott and Dixie

Our wonderful friends and weekend hosts, Scott, Megan and Lucy.

On the way home, we found these sweet skis that someone was trying to get rid of for free! 
We can't wait to teach all the nieces and nephews how to ski!!

The construction progress continues on the house.  Here are some pics of the work of the excavating crew.  It's nice to see the progress that is getting made.

The foundation is in!!
And the framing has been started!

This 4th of July was one of the best ever.  Maybe it was because it was one of the most beautiful weekends of the summer...but maybe because we had such a great time with our wonderful friends!  Sadly, the only pictures I have of the entire weekend were of me and Dixie being lazy on the lake.

We were working on our tan and snuggling in the sun!

The weekend of July 8th I went to Las Vegas with some friends for my bachelorette party.  It was seriously the BEST WEEKEND EVER and definately deserves a post of it's own!  Dano had plenty of people come over to keep him company so he wasn't too lonely without me.  :)

Mark and my dad brought the kiddos over.  Jen was with me in Vegas, so they were looking for some fun to keep them occupied while Mom was gone.

My niece and nephew are just the biggest cuties ever!!  LOVE THEM SO MUCH!!

Parker looks like he's having fun!!

But, I think Lily is wishing she was on the tube with Mommy!!!

Enjoying a beer with Grandpa after the wild tubing ride!!

The next day some of Dano's buddies came over for a guys weekend of surfing.

Dano and Greg.  I love this pic of these two!!

Dano getting ready to surf and show the guys how it's done!

Dano surfing and maybe somebody attempting to moon the camera!!  LOL!! 
I just noticed that when I looked at the picture in more detail!

The guys enjoying their dinner.

The group shot!

On Saturday July 16th, Dano and I went to the 2nd Annual Lakefront Blues and Jazzfest.  The festival is in Lakefront Park, just a quick ten minute walk away, so we headed up there.  Despite the heat, there was a great turnout to see Buddy Guy!

Buddy Guy

And we ended up weekend, the best way possible, enjoying the lake!  Scott and Megan came over for some surfing, and everyone did an awesome job!  The water felt so good since it was such a hot day.  Even Dixie couldn't help but jump in for a swim to cool down every now and then.

Scotties first time up!!  YEAH!!!

This is my favorite...look at that determination!!!

Happy Dano!

Dixie telling us that it's time to go home already!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Open Water Scuba Instructors!!

After months of classes and hours of testing and prep in the classroom and pool, on June 5th, Dan and I become PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors!!!

The weekend started early on Saturday morning with three grueling hours of theory tests followed by classroom presentations.  We had a quick break for lunch while we went over to the pool at Northwestern Health Sciences and got prepped for pool skills and in-water presentations.  We successfully made it through our first day, but we were totally wiped out, and had to get out ready to head to the lake the next day.

We got out to Square Lake early on Sunday morning, and I was desperately hoping the water would be warmer than the chilly 65 degrees that it was two weeks earlier.  I had planned to dive in my wetsuit and was worried about freezing underwater.  But, fortunately, it was a beautiful day!

Dan doing some last minute prep for his Open Water presentation.

Beautiful day out at Square Lake!  Lots of Diver Down flags.

Out at the lake, we were required to do rescue scenarios, open water presentations and skills in the water.  There were 11 of us total in our group, so we were split into two groups.  Dan and I were in the group that completed the rescues first, so we got those out of the way immediately, and the water actually felt pretty decent.

After the other group finished the in-water stuff, we headed out into the lake for our dive.  The water temp was about 75 on the surface and I was feeling great.  However, after going below the thermocline, it was pretty chilly!  Our dive ended up lasting 53 minutes and the temp below the thermocline was 65 degrees.  I was chilled big time and couldn't wait to get out of the water!  As soon as I got up to the surface, I got into the super hot, steamy black car and just let the heat permeate me.  I couldn't get enough.

Anyway, so after our dive, we finished our presentations, and then we all sat around waiting for the results.  One by one we were called over to the instructor and he told us our scores and whether or not we passed...and we did!!  In fact, all 11 of us in the class did!  It was great!  We took a few more pictures of the entire group with our certificates.

The entire group of newly certified SCUBA instructors!

The Scuba Center Crew - James, Dan, me and Travis

The Scuba Center Crew take two - our instructors RJ and James, and Travis, Dan and I.

Dan and I, with Square Lake in the background.

To celebrate our new certification, the Scuba Center crew headed over to the Gasthaus in Stillwater for some german beers.  It was a perfect afternoon...sunny and hot and we all sat outside and enjoyed sharing diving stories.

Dan and I are excited to become SCUBA instructors and share our love of the water with others!  Let us know when you want to try!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

This has been a busy week here and we were so THANKFUL for the long weekend.  Dan has been busy demolishing the fireplaces during the past couple of weeks, which is part of our master plan to remodel the basement before our Groom's Dinner by the beach in September.  We plan to replace the wood-burning fireplaces with gas fireplaces.  His goal this week was to get as much done as possible on his own, so that we could completely remove the chimney and patch up the holes in the house over Memorial Day Weekend.

What is left of the upstairs fireplace as of Monday night.

What was left of the basement fireplace as of Monday night.

To celebrate our success with the fireplace removal, we went to a Twin's Game on Tuesday night with Scott and Megan!  We started out at Kierans, the best place for a happy hour before the game, and then enjoyed a beautiful night at Target Field with an amazing and definately unexpected win by the Twins!


After having fun on Tuesday night, there was no more time for fun and relaxtion the rest of the the week. We still had more fireplace work that had to be done. We needed to get as much taken down as possible, so that we could remove the entire chimney on Saturday and get the holes patched up. So, Friday afternoon, Dan rented a jackhammer and went to town!

The scatter in the pic is from all the dust that was flying around. 
This whole project has been crazy messy!

Friday night we were lucky enough to go to ANOTHER Twin's Game!!

There was a Thrivent event, and Mark and Jen gave us tickets, and we got to sit in a Skyline Suite!  It was an awesome night to watch the game from a suite, since it was kind of rainy and cold.  Plus, we got beer and hotdogs!  Can't beat a Dome Dog!

Thanks Mark & Jen!

At the Harmon Killebrew statue, a bunch of people had left flowers and signs as
a memorial to him. It was really touching to see this...I had to fight my tears!

Mark and Dawn came to the game with us too, and we had a nice time socializing with them!

Justin Morneau is my favorite Twin's player ever since I met him at The St. Paul
Hotel after a Wild game last November.  He was super nice, and gave me his autograph
on a Wild ticket.  And he was really friendly to all of us, and gave Dan and Scott
multiple high fives and fist bumps throughout the night.  My bro Dave likes him a lot too, so I took this picture so he could be jealous that we were all at Target Field and he was missing out in CO!

The Twins managed to piss away their 4-0 lead in the last few innings. So, unfortunately, no Win that night.  But, there was a nice firework show after the game, and we all had a great time!

We got home pretty late, and we kinda wiped out from the week of fun and all the chimney work.  But, got up EARLY on Saturday to start the next phase.  We had people coming over to help us with the chimney and needed to be ready for everything!  That meant that Dan needed to climb on the roof and start work on the chimney up there, and I needed to go to the grocery store and buy doughnuts to feed all of our helpers!  Both equally important jobs. 

Fortunately, all of Dan's hard work during the past few weeks, had paid off, within a couple of hours, the upstairs part of the chimney was down!  It was so amazing to see it fall at once!

Dan busting out the final pieces, and a view from the house!

Mark, Jen and Dave helping us clean up the mess after the demo.

A view from the outside after the chimney was removed. 
Mark working on building some temporary walls.

The hole has finally been patched and sealed.  Just MINUTES before the rain and hail started!

Fortunately, we were able to get all the chimney stuff cleaned up and the hole in the house sealed just minutes before the rain and hail started.  Talk about perfect timing!  I was so glad to be finished!  We are so thankful for everyone's help with this project!!

The rest of the weekend we were pretty lazy.  We spent several hours on both Sunday and Monday cleaning the house...the dust from the brick is everywhere.  Poor Dan is super sore and still exhausted, but we are glad to have that first milestone of our project finished up.  I'm beginning to think our remodel for September is actually going to happen!  Yeah!

Back to the grind tomorrow...thank goodness it's only a 4-day week though!  Hope you had a nice Memorial Day Weekend too!