My Beamish Brood

My Beamish Brood

Friday, September 27, 2013

I Do!

Kelley and Tim tied the knot last weekend in a beautiful ceremony at the Cathedral in Rapid City. We are overjoyed to have Tim as part of the family; his presence during the last days before the wedding brought a sense of calm and humor to the last minute craziness*. Up until the wedding weekend, I had not spent much time with Tim, so I was glad to get a chance to know him a bit better. All I need to say is that it is obvious how much he loves Kelley, and they are truly great for each other.

I was honored to stand up as a bridesmaid with Monica, Megan, and Kelley's good friend Brenna. Kelley was as low-maintenance of a bride as they come; she even trusted us to choose our own jewelry and make our own bouquets! Which, if I may say so myself, turned out pretty decent. It was a fun evening putting together our flowers and deciding how to wrap them. Then on Saturday morning, we revisited a tradition we started for Monica's wedding: bagels and mimosas at the hair salon! I was suffering from a killer cold all weekend, but even standing knee-deep in Kleenex couldn't ruin the fun of that time together. 

When we got to the church, we donned our cowboy boots (for real. SO awesome.) and our dresses, and prepared to celebrate two lives joined. The bride and groom were radiant, the music was beautiful (Monica did double-duty as matron-of-honor and cantor!), and Christ was truly present there as they said their vows. Good thing we all stocked our boots with tissues... there were a couple of tear-jerker moments.

The reception was a blast: prime rib buffet, 14 individual wedding cakes (one per table), homemade moonshine from Tim's neck of the woods, amazing toasts by the matron-of-honor and best man, two gracious and glowing newlyweds, and a rockin' dance party. Lucian followed Kelley around like a puppy dog for a good portion of the evening... I think he was awestruck by her beauty. Audrey cut a rug and charmed the socks off everyone she met. Max showed off his unique dancing style and struck up conversations with everyone who crossed his path. Even with all three kids in tow, Paul and I got to sneak in a couple of dances. It was a great night. 

Congratulations, Kelley and Tim! Thanks for sharing your joy with us. We love you!

Awesome photos by Jacques Daniel,
Also from Jacques,


*At one point, as Maureen tells the story, everyone was sitting around the table and tensions started to rise. Tim looked right at his soon-to-be Mother-in-law and, with conviction, began repeating, "I do. I DO!" as if to remind himself (and everyone present) what we were really all here for, even if his fiance was currently driving him crazy. The tension was broken, and it became a mantra throughout the week.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Voyageur

One last post about our week in Ely, and then I'll be moving on to the start of the school year (lots to tell!). But bear with me, because you don't want to miss this! I'll be telling the story of Max's trip from my own perspective, but go ahead and ask him about it yourself- he will have lots to say.

The idea to take a vacation in Ely this summer started when Paul and my dad began hinting at taking Max into the Boundary Waters with them. They have been mentioning it for years, but when Max was four, I began saying that I might be O.K. with next year... when he's five... 

And then he turned five.

And they held me to it.

Honestly, I was not worried about his safety for a millisecond. I knew he was in capable, experienced hands, and that he would be well looked-after. But that doesn't mean I didn't have trouble sleeping the night before they left. My firstborn, five years old, was going to a place where I couldn't call him. I couldn't visit him. Communication between us was completely cut off for nearly two full days! I have spent time away from him before, but this was different. With no phone or internet between us, I could only guess at what he was doing, whether he was having fun, whether he had met a bear...

But Paul documented his trip well, as I made him promise. The look on Max's face in these pictures made it clear how at home he felt in the wilderness. He loved the lake, the canoe, fishing, swimming, helping Grandpa around the camp, eating food around a campfire, all of it. His daddy taught him how to whittle, and he made himself a spear to hunt for wild animals. Thankfully, none were found on his hunting expeditions, but he did manage to catch a real live chipmunk in a trap he set with Grandpa.

In fact, that was the first thing I learned about his trip; as they paddled toward the dock in the pouring rain, mosquito bite-ridden and soaked to the bone, he yelled out at the top of his lungs, "I caught a chipmunk! I caught a chipmunk! I caught a chipmunk!" We ran inside and dried off, but while I was dying to hear about every detail of his trip, all he wanted to do was read a book. Poor kid, he's never gone a day in his life without a book... I think of all the hardships, that was probably the worst for him. Ok, maybe second-worst, after the vicious killer mosquitoes.

Warrior Max with his spear and chipmunk trap
"I love the Boundary Waters!!"

The rest of the week, he seemed older. He got to go with "the guys" down into a mine, hard hats and all. He baited his own hook. He just grew up a little. But it's ok, because he still gives me hugs and snuggles whenever I ask for them. He is only five, after all.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Kayak King

My turn! I had a great week at the cabin, alternating between kayaking in the lake, digging in the sand, and cuddling with Grandma. I completely attached myself to my "Gram-Cracker" (as I like to call her), and I wouldn't even let Mom help me wash my hands if Grandma was around to do it!

My favorite place in the world: Grandma's lap
I really wanted to be big enough to go into the Boundary Waters with Max; I even told everyone about my trip to the Boundary Waters when I was five. I remember it like it was yesterday... even though it was in my imagination. I helped out the best I could, but I still had to watch from the dock as Max and all the other guys paddled away. 

I sure missed my brother while he was gone, but I had Mom and Grandma and Great-Grandma to keep me busy. I got to take the kayak out by myself a few times, and Grandma and I went exploring together too! We paddled out and "bumped booties" with our kayak; I was so excited to tell Mom, but I don't understand why it made her laugh so hard! By the end of the week I learned that the things we bumped were actually called "buoys", but that's harder to say.

It was a lot of fun ruling the roost for a couple of days, but I was sure glad to see Max when he got back!

Other highlights of the week included: trips to the lodge for ice cream, throwing rocks into the water, and playing at the playground in Ely. But when it came time for us to go home, I was completely ready to sleep in my own bed in my own room. Adventure is fun, but I say there's no place like home.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Monkey Business

Hey guys, it's me, Audrey! I know you were all thinking the last post was a little lacking in photos of my beautiful, megawatt-grin face... but that's just because Mom was saving a bunch of these pictures for me to tell my own story of our week in Ely. 

Actually, there's not a whole lot to tell. As long as I was on or near a chair, I was happy as a clam all week! But if someone ever tried to remove me from a chair or (gasp!) tell me I couldn't stand on it, I totally lost it. You would have too, if you had been there. The grown-ups were SO unfair! I just wanted to be up high like everyone else - I can't help it that I'm littler than them. Mom tried to nickname me "monkey" but my brothers would have none of it! They said it wasn't a girly enough name for me. (They opted for "Cupcake". Mmmm... I like cupcakes.)

Besides climbing, I kept busy reading stories and snuggling... two things that were pretty new to me this week! Mom has always felt lucky if I sit still on her lap for more than ten seconds, but now that I'm older and wiser I've decided to slow down. A little. 


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Up, Up and Away

We just returned from the vacation to end all vacations. I mean, we've done a lot of traveling this summer, but it's not really a vacation until you can put your feet up and chillax on a sandy beach in 90 degree weather. So that's what I did. As much as I could. The setup of our cabin was unbelievable- only yards from the beach, we could safely leave kids napping inside while we soaked up the sun. And no major planning was involved for a beach visit; realize you forgot the sand toys? Hats? Sunscreen? Child? Just run back up to the cabin and grab them!

The weather was spectacular six out of eight days. At home it would have been obnoxiously hot, but this close to the lake? Bring it on! The only real difficulty was the mosquitoes. And when I say "difficulty", I mean scourge-bordering-on-plague proportions. We fought a guerrilla war against the beasts all week, planning playground visits around the level of wind, time of day and temperature least likely to attract them... but they inevitably found us. So we would move on. The middle of the lake was safe, so when in doubt we donned life jackets and drove the boat out to swim as far from the bug-ridden shore as possible.

My grandparents joined us for the majority of the week, and it was fantastic to have six capable adults covering three kids. I had my hands free more times than I can count! The boys read tons of books with Great Grandma, and Audrey developed a huge soft spot for Great Grandpa (and vice-versa, I believe). Paul and I even took a solo trip into Ely to celebrate our anniversary (seven years!) with a slow, leisurely wander through the tourist shops, Mass, and dinner. It's been a slight adjustment this week back to full-time one-on-three, but we're getting there.

As you all know, Max took his first Boundary Waters trip during the week with Daddy, Grandpa and Great Grandpa... but that deserves a post all its own. In fact there are probably several more posts coming; I hope I don't bore you with the hundreds of pictures I took! (I promise I won't share all of them...) So for now I will leave you here, with a few highlights of our week:

She inhaled this marshmallow so quickly, she barely got sticky!

One of the ...(dozen or so)... ice cream stops
Don't they look like a couple of hobbits?

Baiting his first hook

We trusted this girl with the wheel??
Doesn't that expression just say it all...

Fishing on our ONE cold day
Thanks Mom and Dad for an amazing week!!