Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Spring Break to Remember!

Over Spring Break we headed to Lutsen which is about 4 1/2 hours north of us and off the shore of Lake Superior. There is a pretty nice skiing area up there that Mike and I thought the kids would enjoy. Mike did ask me though..."is it weird we are going NORTH for spring break...to SKI???" After this incredible winter of snow that wouldn't melt because it was so stinking COLD there was still a lot of snow left up there and Lutsen had extended it's ski season an extra two weeks.

We arranged to leave a day earlier than planned because it looked like rain for the end of our stay. We headed up...in rain. We thought as we went a little further north it would turn to snow. But it didn't and Mike and I just kept wondering if it was going to be a good skiing trip or just a good "hang in the condo" type trip.

It never stopped raining that first day. We weren't scheduled to ski until Tuesday and it started to finally snow sometime Monday night. Then it snowed ALL DAY Tuesday. They actually had almost every mountain shut down. The winds were crazy; it may have even qualified as a blizzard. We tried to go skiing twice when we thought it was slowing down - no luck.

Here's three views from our condo:

Clear Day: Lovely!

Minor snow times...


Luckily we had brought a bunch of games and we were able to keep ourselves occupied for 1 1/2 days of condo sitting.

On Wednesday we were finally able to hit the slopes. The weather was GORGEOUS in the morning. Warm enough but not too warm! It got a little warmer as the day progressed though and by afternoon Mike and I didn't like the snow - very soft and almost slushy. But we skiied until they closed at 4pm.

And the views are awesome. I really love this area of Minnesota. I know the people up here deal with a lot of yucky weather, but I absolutely love just sitting and looking around up there!

We did manage to walk around a little and even went in to Grand Marais to eat some pie - only to find out the place was closed at 2pm. However, Maddie had wanted to get down to Lake Superior so we did manage that - for about 5 minutes. Despite the heat from the day, the lakeshore was COLD!

Thursday was our last day of skiing. It was a little chillier than Wednesday but still really nice. I actually preferred it overall for skiing conditions than Wednesday. We were having a great time and Mike and I decided that we would finish skiing at 3pm. It was an hour before closing, but there was another winter storm coming and we wanted to get on the road.

At 2:30 we went down one of the runs and sort-of split up. It was going to be one of our last runs and each person had a favorite way of getting down. Maddie ended up going through the woods along a short route with tons of little mounds that she and Jake had really liked the day before. Mike and Jake met at the bottom and took off down a forked path. I saw the way they went, but waited for Maddie because I wanted to make sure she went in the same direction. Only she wasn't showing up. I finally started to ski back and my phone rang. It was Maddie crying saying she had fallen and she couldn't move her arm and she'd been trying to call for help but no one heard her.

I got back to her and called Mike to get the ski patrol. She had hit an icy patch on one of the mounds and couldn't get any traction to slow down and had fallen on her left side. The ski patrol arrived and while one bandaged her up, the other went to the top of the run and shut it down because it was decided it was too icy to be open any longer.

The patrols were great with her and so calm. They got her on a snowmobile and headed down just as Mike and Jake had gotten back up to our spot to see how things were going. We were told she needed xrays in Grand Marais and the ER had already been called to expect us.

After a 30 minute torturous drive there and waiting for our turn, we were shown her xray:

Her left clavicle was broken right in the middle.

Maddie wanted to just be home, but that wasn't going to happen. The snowstorm we knew was coming stopped us in Duluth and we managed to get a room but couldn't get our luggage out because of the way things were packed. We all slept in our clothes and Maddie was up about every 45 minutes to try and get more comfortable. The pain meds weren't helping her at all.

Friday morning Mike dug out the truck and we headed home in conditions that weren't great, but passable.

In the cities we went straight to the orthopedic hospital - I'm sure we were a sight. We were still in clothes we'd been wearing for two days and Mike hadn't shaved for probably at least four days; we were a rag-tag bunch. She got a second consult and we were told she would more than likely require surgery because of the space top to bottom of her broken bone. It was unlikely it would heal well, and if it didn't then surgery would be needed, but it would be even more difficult to repair. The surgeon called us that night and we talked the pros and cons over with Maddie and all decided surgery was the better option. Saturday was spent at the hospital.

Mike spent the night in the hospital with her on Saturday. He and Jake had gone to our niece's birthday party and came back followed by my parents. They gave her a little cheering up gift from everyone at the party...

Monday she had a follow-up appointment; I'll spare you the picture of her scar - it's a little rough for anyone squeamish (read: my mom). She ended up losing a little feeling in her upper arm, but she had known that some permanent numbness was going to occur. I think that's been the weirdest part for her to get used to. Her pain management was brought more under control and she's back at school today. She'll be in a sling for at least two weeks and out of phy ed for at least six weeks. The whole arm will take about 3-4 months to fully heal they expect.

This is the scan of her post-surgery. That is the metal plate with the screws holding it in place. It she wants/needs it removed it can be after about a year.

And I'm just going to say...Jake was awesome. He spent about 3 days of spring break sitting in waiting rooms or doctors' offices and never once complained. He was extremely accommodating on all the car rides to get her as comfortable as possible. One doctor joked with him about teasing her and "brotherly love" or something and Jake said, "Eh....I'm nice to her when she doesn't feel great...other than that we occasionally argue."

So...as Maddie posted on Instagram "Lutsen was great...right up until I split my collarbone in half". It was definitely a memorable trip - but all four of us are looking forward to going back next year!

Friday, March 14, 2014

February's Project Life Pages

My sister informed me of how to use Dropbox with our kids' phones so I now see every single picture they take and don't have to tackle and pin them down to finally get pictures sent to me.

And while I do trust our kids immensely, let's not lie...it's a GREAT way to check out how the phone is being used.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014


A couple weekends ago Maddie took part in the Junior High production of "The Music Man". They have been rehearsing quite a bit since January. She played a town-person and was nervous the production wouldn't be great (they did miss five rehearsals due to canceled school...

However - it was GREAT! We really enjoyed the show. We attended the second night and watched it with my sister and her husband, my parents, plus our neighbors across the street; she had quite the cheering crew! This musical is one of Rob and Tracy's favorites and I curious to see how they thought it would measure up. They both said they had a great time watching it (and I did catch my sister lip-syncing the words...)

Unfortunately this is about all we have in the way of photos...I was a numskull and forgot to bring my camera. I really wish that hadn't happened, but to put a positive spin on things, then I can say I truly enjoyed every moment of it without having to think about which shots I should get.

Maddie had quite a bouquet of beautiful flowers by the time she got home (none of which, incidentally, came from us...second night's mistake!). We told her she needed to find something else to be involved with. This week she started as a track manager at the high school and she's quite excited about it.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Off and Running

I decided to try another year at the Project Life book. After last year, there are a few things I'm going to do differently:

1. Last year each month had a different color background paper. I liked the look of it when the finished product came - so did Mike. However, I am going to try and all gray background this year. It's a neutral color and then I'm not limited each month to only a certain set of papers/colors to match. There were a few times last year that I was so sick of a certain set of colors by the end of the month I wanted to pull my hair out.

2.  At the beginning of last year I would just give a general overview of the week. Somewhere along the lines I broke it down in to one thing we did per day in paragraph format. This year I'm going to keep it broken down by day, but it will be more bullet list format.

3.  Maddie didn't like the blog posts having to do with these layouts. I liked them because it was like killing two birds with one stone: I got the pages done and people got a bit of an idea of what was happening in our lives. So, I will only post the month's worth of layouts at the end of each month. I apologize in advance if I don't get posts up having nothing to do with this. Blame Maddie.

That said - here's January's layouts. February will come along in awhile.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Project Life 2013 Wrap

I did it! I completed an entire year of layouts - 52 two-page layouts, to be exact! Some weeks were a little more difficult than others and I had to push to get pictures taken, but overall it wasn't terrible and I LOVE the result!

I ordered my book from Mixbook and I will definitely be using them again!

I have to say - I originally ordered from Persnickety Prints because I'd read such great things about their print quality for separate pages. I had only read one book review, but it too was rated very favorably. However, that book was a mess - the cover was a type of plastic-y coating that was already coming off by the time I got it. The packaging was horrible and the corners were already worn as well. I was extremely sad because I had SO been looking forward to getting this project in hand after a full year of waiting.  I called their office in California, was directed to send an email to the owner and she promptly replied within an hour with a full refund and was glad I had sent pictures. I was impressed with their customer service, but didn't want to reprint this book with them. Perhaps if I ever get single pages printed I will look them up.

Anyway - more research and I found this company. Their book was a little more expensive than I was hoping to spend but after the first debacle I was hoping "You get what you pay for" would be very true in this instance.

It has a book cover, but under that is a really nice "leather" cover.

The print quality inside is good. I knew that it wouldn't be quite up to the standard as if I had these pages printed individually due to the printing process of any bound book. These are good though, and I am very pleased with them.

I debated getting these pages individually printed just for the purpose of better quality. However, size of book won out. If I had these individually printed I would have easily had to use two books for each year and I really didn't want that. Plus, it would have really pushed the cost of this project.

I was extremely happy to find a coupon online that gave me 30% off the book, plus free shipping! That actually ended up bringing the cost to $5 below the first book I ordered and it was such better quality. Plus, it arrived shrink wrapped to protect it from the elements and in a box that actually fit it (versus the mega-sized box the other company had sent theirs in that allowed a lot of jostling in transit). I think a lot of companies offer good discounts at the beginning of the year for just such projects so I am going to make sure everything is ready to go in January 2015 to jump on the great deals!

The best part of this whole process?  This...

Each kid has spent time looking through it. Mike has spent time looking through it. I've spent time looking through it. We've all giggled and reminisced over some things from last year. Everyone has enjoyed it and I hope it will be pulled out many times over the years to come!