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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Northern Minnesota Vacation

Last week, Grandma Pam and Grandpa Lee bravely volunteered to join our family on a vacation to explore Northern Minnesota. Here are a few of the highlights of our trip.

Family picture at the MN War History Museum located at Camp Ripley. I highly recommend this! It was not part of our MN History Center membership, but only cost $12 for the family. It was the favorite stop for all of our kids!

Next, we drove up to Lake Itasca to see where the Mississippi River begins.
In order to be considered a true Minnesotan, one has to visit and  cross the Headwaters of the Mississippi River. 

Grandma bought a bag full of shiny rocks for Peter and Haley to share at the visitor center.

Madeline looking on trying to decide if she should take off her shoes and cross - she ended up doing it, too. Benj went in a little too far and got pretty wet. Peter and Lillian actually fell in - all making for soggy, good memories!

Haley made it!

Joseph went over and back twice!
 The next morning, we visited Paul and Babe before heading over to Silver Bay.

The iconic Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues in Bemidji, MN.

Super cool park next to the Paul and Babe statues.

All the Kraft kiddos on the super safe merry-go-round.

A little Agnes cuteness for you!

This was a great stop on our northern MN tour. We used our History Center Membership and got in free! The visitor center was great. The older kids all climbed the fire tower - somehow, no pictures of that.

Benj couldn't get enough of this!

Eleanor and Peter taking a try at sawing wood like the loggers in the olden days.

Family picture at the Forest History Center.

The Americinn had a 110 foot water slide that the kids could go down 48 times and become part of the "Mile Slide Club". Somehow, I did not get a picture of it?! The oldest 6 kids all got their certificates and have their pictures on the wall.

Benj goes SPLASH! 

Peter on the frog slide.

Todd and Esther taking a break from swimming to pose for a photo.

The little boys taking in the beauty of Gooseberry Falls. They couldn't believe how loud the water was!

The lower falls at Gooseberry Falls.

Me and Agnes - she spent the morning in the baby wrap and eventually fell asleep. What a life!

Lillian and Madeline taking a selfie by Gooseberry Falls.

Family photo in front of the falls.

Another location where we used our MN History Center membership - free admission once again!

The lighthouse - the most photographed location in Minnesota. The things one learns on vacation!

View going down the spiral staircase inside the lighthouse.

Double photo bomb - Joseph on the left and flying Agnes on the right!

We stopped for some over-priced, yet highly delicious, ice cream. We even sprung for double scoops - something the kids had never had...what a treat!

I didn't get the camera out soon enough - the big girls had already eaten most of their ice cream and were taking silly pictures by the time I got over to them.

There was some sort of boat festival in Duluth making it impossible to even find a parking spot, so we decided to just head home. Benjamin helped clean the headlights for a safe drive home!

Grandma Pam snuggling a tired baby Agnes when we got back home after an exciting family vacation!
There were so many wonderful moments! The kids are already asking about where we'll go next summer....and they're assuming Grandma and Grandpa are coming along....hope you're ready for that!

God Bless!

Heather :-)

Friday, July 8, 2016

Over the River and Through the Woods

So, we finally made the 500 mile journey to visit our families in North Dakota. We used to make the trip at least once, and sometimes a couple times, a year. But, with our expanding family and Todd's limited vacation time....the trips have become a little more spread out. Our last trip to Minot was for Todd's niece's wedding 1 1/2 years ago. We were due to make the drive!

That's a lot of enthusiasm for a 5:30 am departure! 

After a few hours of driving, we stopped in Fargo to burn off a little energy at Lindenwood Park.

Because there are so many of us, we divide up between the grandparents. The big girls and Benj stayed at one house and the rest of us crashed at the other. Benjamin quickly became grandpa's best buddy!

The grandparents took the whole crew out to breakfast at the Homesteader after Sunday morning Mass - what a special treat!

Benjamin playing at the playground of my old elementary school.

Aunt LuAnn brought over some super yummy treats for us. She even brought supplies to make these ultra festive red, white, and blue drinks!

Esther was so excited to catch one of the parachutes! Minnesota law doesn't allow for fireworks that shoot up into the air, just the lame-o ones that shoot sparks. So, it was super exciting for the little girls to chase the parachutes, as they had never done that before!

The little girls were in horse heaven when they got to feed the horses their special treats!

Smoke bombs...need I say more?!?

A beautiful North Dakota sunset.

We met up with  my sister and her kids at Planet Pizza for lunch and some video games. Here's a picture of the cousins with grandma and grandpa. I think it turned out pretty well, actually!

Aunt Patti took the oldest 7 kids to Finding Dory complete with popcorn. They also had various other treats and game time with her and their cousin...so...much...fun!

All good things must come to an end...this is what the last 30 minutes of the 500 mile drive home consisted of!

We all had a very nice visit and look forward to our trip to North Dakota next summer!

God Bless!

Heather :-)

Monday, May 30, 2016

How We Roll!

You can imagine, that a family the size of ours goes through a sizeable amount of toilet paper. We order this from Amazon and it lasts about 3-4 months. I wouldn't say that it's "plush" or fancy, but it gets the job done. So, when the box arrives on our front step, this is what follows!

Eventually, it all makes its way to the upstairs linen closet. The process takes at least an hour...cheap entertainment!

God Bless!

Heather ;-)