Wednesday, February 24, 2016

o.k., so the doggie in the picture below is cute (hi dillion), but look beyond him for a sec~
see the river? thats the mn. river.

and.... my uncle stan and aunt phil live here. 
right here!
right on the banks of this river and it's a little slice of heaven.

when i took a few days off and headed west to visit sister and some other
family in jan. she and i spent an afternoon here with stan and phil.
it's been way too long since i'd been there and it's such a lovely place.

we grew up just a few miles from them and we saw each other at least a couple
times a week. stan and phil lived on a different farm and milked cows in the 60's,
but then there was a tragic fire and they lost the barn and their cows and it changed the
course of their life.
it seemed devastating at the time, but then the opportunity to buy this 
beautiful sanctuary- right on the river came up and they've been there 
ever since. i remember how happy my gram and gramps were when
their son was able to buy this farm place and move his family there.
(believe it or not they didn't even have an indoor bathroom most of the
years they lived at the old place).

our family spent lots of time hanging out here, canoeing, fishing and eating
warm chocolate chip cookies. 
(aunt phil and her daughter darci make the world's best cc cookies).

this is my uncle stan. he has one of the best laughs in the world. if i close my eyes and
think about it, i can hear it like he's sitting right here by me.  : ) 
he's also missing a thumb and that always intrigued me as a kid. it got cut off in a 
farming accident when he was young. i can't imagine how i'd feel if one of
my boys lost a finger...but as was her way, my gram was very matter of fact about it.
 life happened, you went on.

now when i think of that i just have to give you a few examples of my gram's fortitude:

*she lost her mother when she was very young, her father married two other women who were both "wicked stepmothers", she was pregnant by the time she was 16, her oldest son was sent off to war, another lost a finger, a daughter and another son pushed through a store's front window by an out of control car, daughter nearly dies from those injuries, same daughter has a brain tumor and does die, now she's got 2 more kids to raise (me!) after the 7 she'd already shoved from the nest. there was also a grandson who died at 2 days, a granddaughter who needed open heart surgery as a baby, & oh the list just goes on, & i'm not even going to start with the next generation~ but here's the best part~ : )

my gram loved life. she always said she felt like she was in heaven here on earth because 
she had such a wonderful family and so many blessings.
i've written this before and i'll say it again. she rarely complained. she really did
just get up everyday and work hard.
she whistled while she tended her huge gardens and she went to church, she watched her 1 soap opera and smoked her cigarettes. she sewed and baked and knit and refinished furniture.
she had a lot of friends and she was never bored.

when i think of all she experienced and lived through in her 72 years it's pretty amazing...
but now, wow~  how did i get on that subject?? oh yeah the missing thumb.  haha

phil made a delicious dessert for us and stan had smoked a pork tenderloin that 
we sat and munched on (along with other goodies) as we got caught up on each other's lives.
this cozy corner with the big windows looks out at the river,
(see it through the window?) and they have a bird feeding station that was fun to watch while
we had our coffee. stan warned me not to make eye contact with dillion or he wouldn't 
leave me alone. i held out for quite a while, but then he was standing by me,
and he looked so darned cute and i couldn't help myself. i petted him for a bit and
he was so
 happy and he started bumping my arm if i'd quit. that is until stan noticed and
said "dillion" and motioned down with his hand and that's all it took. 
big black doggie promptly laid down and took another nap.
(they've always had well trained dogs).
: )

just as we decided we'd better get going, aunt phil mentioned that
maybe she should show us her granary. 
granary we asked?
she giggled and said, "yes, it's full of all my old stuff".
of course we wanted to see it, so we laced up our boots and
headed outside.

this old outhouse sits right next to the granary.
don't you love the cupalos?

this is not that big of a building, but look how cute she's made it!
by herself she's taken down walls, put up shelves, built cabinets and 
arranged all her favorite things.
it is like a playhouse, for grownups!
how    great    is     that??

really love her old water cans and grain scoops~

it was all so interesting and great, and i had no idea she had this 
wonderful place to display and enjoy her collection of 
vintage goods.

here's another view of phil's grown up play house. i wish i would have asked
her what vine she grows on that trellis you can see.

each of my 6 aunts and uncles homes hold very special memories for me 
and spending time at this one on a cold thursday afternoon, warmed my heart.
thanks for a really great afternoon stan and phil~

xox, beth 

these purdy eggs are straight from sister's 10 chickens.

her granddaughter recently decided that the eggs come from the chickens
"butt" and she's no longer having any part of them.
so... i gladly took her share home with me. : )

Friday, February 19, 2016

"oooooo" orchids~

i was out to the mn. landscape arboretum to do a 
client photo shoot this week and when i walked
in the visitor center my breath was literally taken away. 
there were 1000's of orchids on display.

all by themselves (like in a single plant) orchids don't do that
much for me, but there they were "en masse" and it was

i wish i would have taken a shot of that whole huge room full of them, but i was
so focused on all the different varieties and getting some photos
before my clients got there, that i didn't
get a long shot, but here are some photos of 
the ones i thought were especially beautiful close up.

phalaenopsis orchids. i used these in my bridal bouquet. : )

this is our mn. state flower~ the lady slipper

this one was was a particular favorite

cattleya orchid

this little one looks like a pansy to me and i looove pansies

leopard orchids

if you live anywhere near MPLS. and winter is starting to get to you,
why not head out to the arb, have lunch... walk the grounds.
sit in a sunny corner and admire the orchids.  
it made my day.

or~~ go see the ice castles in eden prairie and let me know if we need to go see 'em.
we only live about 4 miles away and haven't ventured over there yet.
*maybe with the weird february rain we had today they're gone?

but hey, it's FRIDAY~ can i get an AMEN?????

xox, beth

Thursday, February 11, 2016

for the love...

this beautiful statue stands on santa vera drive in chanhassen.
 tucked back off the street~ it's hidden, but not really.

a lot of people who live here have never seen her,
and maybe don't even know it's there.

it's a memorial to children who have died, but it's really there for
anyone who's looking for peace. i've walked over to admire her before,
but never in the winter and on this day, there was a blanket of new snow
laying softly on her head and arms and wings.

i love statues. if you like them too and didn't know this, there are a lot of them
 at the mn. landscape arboretum near chanhassen.
*i've also heard the mpls. sculpture gardens are getting a bunch 
of amazing new ones in the coming year.

it was still snowing...  (this winter has been so pretty!)

 snow was melting and looked like beautiful angel tears~

angels make me think of valentines day~
 (cupid with his bow and arrow!)
and love,


xo, beth

Monday, February 8, 2016

this is my aunt and uncle's farm.

i spent a lot of time here when i was growing up and this beautiful farm holds a lot of special
memories for me. i spent hours playing with my cousins, washing eggs,
 racing my aunt from the barns to the house at the end of the day, standing on the
fence by their flock of sheep acting weird and trying to get them to
baaaaaa at us. we swang on the swing set, ate chicken in a bisquit crackers and drank schwans orange juice by the pitcher,
we helped with chores and auntie dora read a lot of books to us all.
we took a lot of baths in their porcelain tub and whispered secrets in the privacy 
of cousin brenda's bedroom.
  brenda and i were born the same summer
 and she, my sister and i have always had a special bond.

last week on the day that was my aunt's 80th birthday i was lucky enough
to be with her. she is my mom's twin and being with her was the next best thing
to being with my mom on her birthday.

uncle floyd turned 80 on new years day so we were celebrating both of their birthdays and
daughter tamara drove up from owatonna and brenda (in the middle below) flew home from
arizona to surprise their parents. since they've been told they aren't supposed to 
bring them gifts anymore, they showed up at their parents door in the morning with giant
bows on their heads~ most likely the best present that they could have ever
brought them!

what dora and floyd didn't know was that as the day went on more and more of
their family was going to be showing up to celebrate them.
this is their first grandchild amber lynn, giving her grama some birthday love.~

brenda, tamara, sister dawn and aunt dora having morning coffee with the cake dawn made.

i asked dora if she'd mind me peeking in the bedrooms on my way to the bathroom, because
i hadn't been in them in many years. she said that was fine and of course i had my
camera around my neck. : )
i LOVE this photo of dora and floyd's wedding that sits on their dresser.
 my auntie dar is peeking out from behind her sister. 
p.s. dar made us all chicken and noodles for the birthday lunch and they were amazing!!!

these two have been married for 58 years. what a blessing!

here are dora and floyd with their 3 children.
brian (middle child and middle in the photo) lives
just a couple miles away from his parents and now the sheep
that are baaaaaaa~ing in the barn are his. he and his dad farmed together until
about a year ago when uncle floyd finally decided he was ready to retire.

this is my beautiful aunt when she was the homecoming queen at
st. cloud state where she got her teaching degree.
(and my shadow while taking the photo- whoops).

when dora's daughter-in-law joan arrived with balloons, dora wasted
no time jumping right up on the dining room table to hang them from the light.
*if i live to be 80 i hope i still dare crawl up on a table.
how cute is she??? seriously~

this is the wonderful batch of grandchildren d. and f. were blessed with.
(they had one more, a sweet baby girl irena, that is their angel baby).

and these 4 (plus two more darling boys that live in texas and weren't able to make it)
are the 4th generation of lee's!

this is baby cora. she's the newest member of the family and named after her
great grama dora. the family affectionately calls dora "greatie" and floyd "grrr".
don't you love that?  : )

big brother harrison proudly modeling the  t- shirt and stocking cap that aunt bren 
knit him.

remember me saying that aunt dora always read to us kids?
this bible story book was a particular favorite. dora taught sunday school
most of her adult life and she brought these stories to life for us all. 
my sis asked her if she still had it and she knew right where it was and got it.

before we left that night i asked to have a picture taken of dora and her girls,
(on the left) and laura's girls, (on the right) together.

being with my mom's twin sister on what would have been my mom's 80th birthday
 felt very sacred to me. i admire dora so much and
hold her in the highest regard. she is an amazing wife, mother, grandmother and
great grandmother to this family.
she and uncle floyd have been a steadfast example of 
love, honesty, hard work and strong family values to their brood.

my sis and i just loved being part of their celebration. (thanks guys)
we had sooo much fun and there were a lot of -laugh until you cry- moments
 & that pretty much = a perfect day.

wishing them both the happiest year and many more trips around the sun!

xo, beth

i stood and giggled taking the picture below. 
this was brenda and tam's room and it is in this very room that
dawn and i found out the facts of life from brenda.
it's a hilarious memory of mine. we went to their house to visit on a sunday
afternoon and bren met us at the door and whispered frantically,
"get up to my room i've got something to telllllll you......!!!!!"

thanks brenda. without you i may still be stumbling around trying to figure 
things out~