Happy Campers

Though Ashish and I have camped, and we have a tent, this was the first time the boys actually stayed over-night in the tent. The best part was being with our special friends, the J’s! They volunteered their home as “base.” Once the sleeping bags, pillows, suits, clothes, bug spray, toothbrushes, tent, cantaloupe that moonlights as a watermelon, and kids were packed in the car, we set out on our journey– ready to rough it in a suburb of Minneapolis. With the mind-set that there wasn’t a store for miles, I’m pretty sure the kitchen sink was in fact included in our bags. Such is life with a 2 year old and a 4 year old…life happens, so be prepared, right?
In order to document the experience, I’ve constructed a time line:

5p.m. Arrive at the Best Little Camp-site in The Burbs (it’s like a well-kept secret!). Upon arrival, “bon-fire” snack is served consisting of cheese, pretzels, and grapes that was as appealing to the eyes as it was the palate! After, Nishad’s bestie put on a little John Denver show for us by special arrangement of his agent. 😉 The house seats– best eva!

5:30p.m. The boys discover the hidden toy store that the J’s have within their home and play with their buddies, a little gabbing, and some swatting mosquitoes- the national bird of Minnesota.

6p.m. Mr. J is manning the grill, while Mrs. J and I are (wo)manning the kitchen. Ashish sets up the tent…upon realizing this, Ashish has four little helpers.

6:15p.m. Turkey sliders hot off the grill served up with lemonade Alfresco!

6:45p.m. The Garden Tour. [Swat, Swat] Built on rolling hills, the garden has something to offer every gardener! A natural setting that backs up to mature trees and greenery eliminates the “fish bowl” backyard that so many people seem to have. Don’t get me wrong, I love my neighbors, but I love the essence of privacy and serenity. Our trees has some years to grow before they develop the screen the J’s garden provides– yes, I am filled with tree envy! The people that use to own the house use to be a photographer, so she would use the backyard for photography… It is lovely.

7:30p.m. The Bon-fire begins! We shared stories…and Ashish even entertained all 4 boys as they chased after frogs. Ashish is such a natural with kids– if we met when we were in our 20’s maybe we could have had 4 kids. Mr. J carved the perfect marshmallow roasting sticks, and Mrs. J assembled the s’mores (although Tiger and little J were all about the simplicity of chocolate). At this point, I resorted to the “Family Off” aerosol spray because the mosquitoes crashed the party– in a Titans kind of way.

9p.m. Bed-time…already? [Swat, Swat, SWAT!] After putting on our PJ’s and being lovingly teased by the J’s about our 8 person tent, it was time to say goodnight. Immediately, Tiger started crying because he wanted to go outside of the tent and play with his friends (frogs included).

9:30p.m. We finally got the kids calmed down and a series of fire and police sirens ramped up. Mrs. J yelled something like, “You’re not in Otsego anymore!” I yelled back, “I was thinking you orchestrated this because of our love for firetrucks?” ha,ha.

10p.m. Neighbor’s Dog. Bark. Woof. Arrrrrrgph! Scratch. Scratch. WOOF!

10:30p.m. Tiger is UP again. He was fine laying on me…but was not a fan of the ground.

11p.m. Toot. Ashish: “Oh my gosh, aim to the window!”

11:30p.m. I attempt to lay Tiger back down in his sleeping bag, but fail. He is up again. I quickly put him in my “birdie nest” (as he calls it).

11:45p.m. “Honey, I forgot my phone in the chair by the bon-fire. Can you get it?” Ashish makes a sliver opening to slide out of the tent so no blood suckers get in.

Midnight. A large animal is outside of our tent…better be a dear!

2AM My final attempt to get Tiger to sleep on his own and then I threw in the towel. Trying not to disturn the J’s (who’s babes didn’t make a sound all night!) Ashish helped me bring him in on the sofa. That little pumpkin! As soon as we laid him down on the nice, soft cushion…let out a sigh and smiled and drifted happily to sleep. He must be royalty! Finally Sleep. I’m sure I looked frightening sprawled out on the sofa when Mrs. J and Mr. J came inside in the morning.

7AM I opened one eye and the cutest little curly haired boy yelled from the stairs, “They’re up!” haha. The boys were happy to help up greet Nishad and Ashsih, who were still in the tent.

We visited a bit while Ashish packed up… Mrs. J made the most wonderful whole wheat banana chocolate waffles and scrambled eggs for everyone. What GREAT hosts the J’s are! This was a fun test run as well… They are more than welcome to borrow our tent at anytime…as I think it will be another year until we’ll be roughing it any other place besides our backyard– or theirs! Thanks, J’s!

Home of the Brave

Tiger didn’t like it when the police k-9’s started barking
A few of the 60 K-9’s on hand.

All smiles!

Proud “future” fireman!

There were no 5 alarm fires, only smiles a glow! Most of you know that Mr. Nishad has raved about wanting to be a fireman since he was 3 (He was a fireman for Halloween that year- too cute to boot!). So, whenever there is an opportunity to learn about them or see on up close, we do our best to accommodate his inner….burning….desires. Since then, he’s added “doctor” to fireman…all good in my book! His overall message, “he wants to help people.” I think that’s pretty inspirational from a 4 year old. There was recently a Statewide safety display of fire, police and county departments held at the St Michael-Albertville middle school (free to the public). There was also a K-9 show which features 60 dogs– pretty impressive. However, the “star” of the show were the firetrucks. The boys wore there “Home of the Brave” shirts as we feel all those that are in the line of service to protect others are very brave and deserve acknowledgment, respect and appreciation. A reporter from the Crow River News took a picture of Nishad “driving” the firetruck. Yes, Mr. Nishad made the paper! Overall, hands on fun for all! Thanks, Wright County!

Auntie K

Everyone needs that special friend– and that special Auntie. My boys simply adore their Auntie K. They insist holding her hand, having her buckle them into their car seats and eating next to her when she is in town. She’s the fun Aunt to my boys that I have a special childhood connection with that once began as a mutual interest in theatre (once upon a time in Chicagoland), but can only now be defined as a sisterhood. We spent the time relaxing at the Lake, going to Bunker Beach Water park, and doing some shopping and dining in St. Paul on Grand Avenue. We even got caught in the path of a tornadic storm (perhaps, a little too much adventure for one visit!). We’re so excited to share that Auntie K will be a mere 3 hours away in Ames, Iowa as she just accepted a position at Iowa State University teaching! Congrats, Auntie K! We love you and can’t wait to see you more often!

KC Visit

Beautiful Mommy and handsome C

The boys and K- owning the house.
Time for friends. Friendships are like gardens, if you don’t tend to them, they just don’t do well. However unintentional, it is hard for a new Mommy and a Mommy of a 2 year old and a 4 year to ‘find that special time’ to take a break for friendship in the midst of daily routines, nap times and domestic happenings (nicely phrased for chores). This is one friendship that we never want to die off…so we do our best to tend to it, even if it’s just a weekly note or “check-in.” It’s all relative, but life as we know it is busy… And though we live only 30 minutes apart, it’s the pre-visit prep that sometimes tire you out before you even get out the door. With that being said, KC and Crew are never far from our thoughts. We’re so happy that they came over for a playdate– We’re already looking forward to seeing them all again soon!

Water Show!

The Prior Lake Water Ski Team
Nishad and M enjoying a picnic by the lake while watching the show.

Summer is our shortest season in Minnesota, so you can’t help but embrace it and soak it up for all it’s worth! In addition to embracing summer, we’ve made a conscious effort to embrace our friends that, during the school year, time just doesn’t allow us to see them enough. My friend S invited us to go to a water ski show with her family. S’s arms are like the suns rays that envelope you with warmth, her smile is the essence of daybreak on a dark stormy night, and her calm is only fitting to the deep red and pink hues of color present in a sunset. While our children attend the same school, I’m fortunate to say that this is not where our interest ends.
This was the first water show that we’ve ever attended. It was held at Parkers Lake is right off 94 and County 6 in Plymouth. Parkers Park/Lake has a small beach area, life guard, grassy area with mature trees for shade as well as a park, picnic tables, sand volleyball court and ample parking. Their are various shows and activities held there through the summer. In the winter, you can ice skate there.