Monday, January 12, 2015

New Year's Resolutions of a Two Year Old

Imagine a life where no one understands a word you are trying to say; you do your best to keep your smile big and bright and your pants clean of any toxic odors. You love getting lotion rubbed all over your skin because it feels so good and you want so desperately to keep your great grandma from getting a pinch full of cheek. Your desire to keep chapstick applied to your lips has nothing to do with preventing them from cracking and drying but to taste the delicious flavored wax in the stick. 

This …. is my life. I am 2 and it is the new year of 2015. A NEW YEAR. A chance to challenge myself and make life interesting! I present to you the list of my top 5 resolutions.

Resolution #1: I resolve to take baths without being bribed by food.
Bath time is SUPER fun. I love all my toys - my soft, squishy, Sesame Street books; my colorful and creative bathtub crayons; my tropical singing duck; and my squirting fish collection. Oh and the Bubbles!!! I can't get enough of the big, bright bubbles!! 

Truthfully, I don't like to get wet. I figure if I can have a popsicle or a bowl of M&Ms I'll allow a little water to be splish-splashed on my skin and my toes dipped just a little underwater. Sometimes I “pretend” the popsicle slipped out of my hand and into the water so that I can see the water turn crazy bright colors. Uh oh Mommy!? And then I go into fits of giggles when I can splash the food colored water all over my arms and legs!

I digress. Mommy said she's not buying any more popsicles or M&Ms. I resolve to suck it up and take a bath without food.

Resolution #2: I resolve to limit my use of the word "no" to once a day.
I heard a friend at daycare say "no, no, no, no" and loved how the sound rang through my ears and sang to my heart. I couldn't help myself from copying this behavior. Even singing it at times. It's almost magical how all of the adults respond when I start my endless chant of "No." Mommy said I sound exactly like great-grandpa. He's pretty old, and funny, but I don't think I want any of my friends to find out that I am a lot like him. I’ll just learn another word for NO and chant that instead!

Resolution #3: I resolve to put on my happy face while getting changed.
This will be my most challenging resolution. I have been screaming since I entered this world and for every subsequent diaper change and wardrobe change. I hate the feeling of the cool, room temperature air hitting my bare naked skin. Quite frankly, a dirty diaper feels a lot more comfortable than a clean one. It's perfectly molded to my body, warmed up to my body temperature, and snug inside my pants. Why ruin such a good thing?
Let's talk about getting dressed. I have a favorite shirt with a picture of a Bobcat skid steer loader. If I can't wear that shirt every day, all day long, then don't bother getting me dressed in anything else. What? You say it is crusty with syrup from breakfast, smeared with dried play-doh, and wet from the milk I spilled earlier? Well, that's what makes this shirt perfect. Stop touching it and don't you dare take it off me!  OK, yes… we can do our due diligence and clean it every once in a while and I'll resolve to stop my whining and wiggling when you take it or any other clothing article off of me. Maybe, I’ll even give you delirious smiles and giggles that will make you wonder if I have officially gone crazy!

Resolution #4: I resolve to allow myself to experience new food.
I really, really enjoy the taste of pancakes and pizza dancing on my tongue. I don't understand why I have to eat anything else. The Doctor says it isn't healthy, well I want proof she eats her fruits and veggies! I'm pretty sure the fruits and veggies aren't going to cha-cha in my mouth or make my belly sing praises of happy song. Mommy is always trying to convince me to taste what she's eating - salad, hamburgers, chicken curry, chili, wild rice soup. I usually take a small, itty bitty, bite to humor her. She smiles big, proud smiles for each bite I take. I like humoring her and for that, I resolve to eat more foods outside of my comfortable food bubble.

Resolution #5: I resolve to find better hiding spots when I poop.
My favorite spot is standing behind the tv in front of the big window. Sometimes, I like to go behind the plant stand that sits in front of the sliding glass door. Mommy says my “hiding” spots aren’t really hiding.  If I can’t see you, you can’t see me. Right?!

I’ve started yelling from my hiding spots “mommy poop!” to let her know she has some work ahead of her. She finds it hysterical until I start running around the house, giggling, and dodging her attempts to pick me up.
With this resolution, I hope to make it harder to find me – provided I don’t smell too terrible and I can resist giving clues on my location!

There you have it -- My list of top five resolutions for 2015. From eating to pooping, it will be a great year! I really only have to do this until February, right?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Summit Hill House Tour

This past September, my neighbor and I volunteered for the Summit Hill Association's 2012 House Tour. I had attended the late fall candlelight house tour in 2011 and fell in love with the houses and courtesies of the homeowners. This year, the house tour was on a beautiful, hot, autumn Sunday. We picked up the early shift for a MASSIVE house and were able to together monitor the bedroom of the family's eldest son. It was so much fun trying to make the story of who this guy was based on the photos, plaques, yearbooks, relics, and posters throughout the room. So many people that came into the room said it was better than the master bedroom - after all, he had his own rooftop balcony and sitting room off the main bedroom! The house was built in the late 1800s and had its own enormous indoor pool. It was a crazy beautiful house (not pictured). After our shift was over, we bummed away a few hours touring other houses. We were able to hit up 7 of the 12 houses on the tour, and oh my did we love pretending we lived in these houses!

I HIGHLY recommend the Summit Hill House Tour to everyone - local or not!

What do you see in the photo below? Some seriously cool art!

The house pictured below was not like any other house I have seen before in the Summit Hill area. Very gothic and dark. On a hot day like it was, this home's stone walls and floors made for a cool place to relax in. The basement had the original a/c in place - very old technology but very interesting to see!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bucket List | Pipestone National Monument

I have wanted to visit the Pipestone National Monument for at least the last 7 years and am so glad we finally made it.  What an amazing and beautiful place! We are so lucky to have such a sacred, one-of-a-kind, and wonderful place like Pipestone right here in our great state of Minnesota. The history of Pipestone is incredibly spiritual for the Native Americans and to this day is still held as a sacred site.  

Most of the quarries at Pipestone have been handed down from generation to generation and others have been passed over to those on the pages and pages long waiting list. You have to quarry at your site at least once a year or it will be handed off to the next person on the waiting list. You must prove you are Native American through a tedious approval process just to get on the waiting list.  Yes, there have been many people who have faked their heritage to get a quarry!  

We went off the beaten tourist trail on down to the active quarries and walked up to the friendly face of a Native American man named Jerry from Kansas City.  He was so full of stories, I could have sat there all day listening and talking to him! He and a friend have had their quarry for the past 15 years and had likely quarried a total of 50 tons of pipestone.  Given the heavy weight of the pipestone, he said that really isn't much for 15 years of digging. However, there are no power tools used in the quarrying process. Shovels, picks, hammers, and wheelbarrows are all of the tools allowed. To get to the pure, bright red pipestone, several feet (sometimes dozens and dozens) deep of quartzite have to be cut through. I believe quartzite is the second hardest rock, but don't quote me on that. In my eyes, 50 tons is VERY impressive for 15 years of manual labor! 

I won't get into the history of Pipestone because I want everyone to go see and learn for themselves! It is an emotional story, both in terms of the Native American story about Pipestone's origin and the US government's role in Pipestone's story. 

Admission to the park is $3.00 per person and is good for 7 days.  A heckuva deal! I regret not going back there to watch the sunset but will forever remember the cascading waterfalls, smell of the prairie under the warm August sun, and the sound of the beating drums and song from the sun dance.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fort Ridgley | Southwest Minnesota

Interesting historical facts from Fort Ridgely:

  • The camp was occupied by mostly men. There were four families living in two of the houses in the fort. There were four or five women and a few children. The women did mostly "womanly" duties around the fort but also stepped up during the wartime and manufactured bullets and helped the Dr. across camp defend and protect his building. I wonder just how much corruption there was with so few females at camp, let alone available women!
  • The actual footprint of the camp was much smaller than I imagined it would be (I must just be used to the massive forts in Puerto Rico!). Granted you can only see foundation rubble today, it still doesn't look like much total acreage and really small buildings. The bluff views over the Minnesota River were beautiful. 
  • During the video viewing in the main building, there was a less than 5 second blip about the hangings in Mankato. It was really awkward because it wasn't part of the original video and seemed to be shoved in there as an after-fact to make someone happy. I asked one of the tour guides why that was and she said they didn't go into detail on the hangings because it wasn't politically correct. did happen, it is a fact, and it was the largest hanging in US History, so stop pussy footing around and be honest about it! It was very interesting to see how the other sites along our museum tour route spent more time talking about the hangings than the Fort did!
  • Fort Ridgely is also a Minnesota State Park (another tick mark in our booklet/bucket list of MN State Parks to visit)! There is a private cemetery and a golf course there, for your enjoyment as well.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Southwest Minnesota | Anniversary Weekend

Dustin and I continued our "A Minnesota Anniversary" tradition for our August wedding anniversary this year. We selected Southwestern Minnesota based on my long time bucket list wish of seeing Pipestone National Monument. It is too far for a day trip and too much between here and there and back to make it a weekend trip, so we extended our visit to three days and hit up tons of tourist spots along the way.

We are Minnesota Historical Society members and decided to hit up all the museums and historic sites in SW MN. It wasn't until after I mapped out our three day itinerary that I realized we were tracing almost the exact reverse route of the US Dakota War of 1862. Dually interesting to note, is that the months of August and September mark the 150 year anniversary of the war. I am ashamed to admit that I was completely unaware of this war that had momentous historical impact on our state and the horrible stories that led up to and resulted from the war. Visiting the various sites was a bit overwhelming at times, but also incredibly enlightening.

We started our journey in Minneapolis and headed SW stopping first in Fairfax, MN to tour Fort Ridgely; cruised down the road to see Harkin's General Store;  then drove further south and stopped in Morton, MN to take a moment of silence and walk around the Birch Coulee Battlefield; then finally visited the Lower Sioux Agency and stopped to rest our heads on  the pillows at the historic (haunted) Calumet Inn. Bonus: we ate the best sirloin steak of our lives at the Calumet Inn restaurant.

On Day 2 we went to Pipestone National Park (yay, finally!) and then got our money's worth out of our annual state park pass and went to Blue Mounds State Park to see the bison and the deserted, tiny Split Rock Creek Park to get bullied by the park ranger.

On the way home, on the final day of our anniversary weekend, we drove slightly out of the way to view Jeffers Petroglyphs. All in all, it was a fantastic Minnesota tourist weekend and I recommend visiting all of the sites and taking in the full experience of each (follow the trails, watch the videos, read the signs by the artifacts, etc.)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Reflections | St. Paul & Mississippi River

Views along the Mississippi River from a Padelford Riverboat...

I am curious to know what on earth that rope/alligator tail looking thing is hanging from the upper right window!

Oh St. Paul! Le sigh...

The water levels sure have been high over the past few years. The top notch marked on the tubing was higher than the top of the tallest riverboat! That was just last year in March! Hard to believe now, hard to believe then!