a waterfall every day

July 17, 2019

we are here.  now with an ELEVEN year old!!

for the many many readers that are wondering about the video, i didn’t do one this year <sniff, sniff> because jovie didn’t really want me to.  and we were on vacation during her birthday.

we went to minnesota & wisconsin.  since MN is the land of 10,000 lakes, i hereby dub WI the land of 9,999 waterfalls!  in my research of what to do there were so so many.  yet another state worthy to go back to.  there was a lot i wanted to do but we couldn’t.  we stuck around MN a little extra so that we could go to the mall of america on jovie’s actual birthday.  (which made her super excited to be traveling on this day!!)

i kept proclaiming that we could see a waterfall every day, and we *almost* made it!

Day 1- Minneapolis, MN


Minnehaha Falls

we had a great time and long day spent in minneapolis area.  since we were up at 4:30 am, and they are in Central Time Zone, we landed at 9am.  which led us to find a breakfast place, drop all our stuff off at the hotel and tool around Minnehaha park.  it was a HOT day.  so after we rented a surrey we definitely earned Ice Cream #1!

we also went to the sculpture garden which was a great place to meander around a giant spoon, a humongous blue rooster & view the city.  there were several sculptures.  some were witty & fun.  some were just plain weird.  one was just not even trying (but funny nonethless-  2 balls on top of each other that was titled “back of snowman“).

by this time- it was hot, late, and we walked and walked a ton.  (The Mr. & i pedaled too) so jovie & i waited on a bench across a fun bridge while The Mr. went further and checked out a cathedral downtown.

we were very excited to check into our hotel and rest our feet for a bit before heading to the mall of america for supper & to gander at that monstrosity of a place.

Day 2- St. Paul, MN


Hidden Falls

notice the name of this place.  turns out, there is a lovely part of the park that walks along the Mississippi that is not linked with the sidewalks that get you here!  luckily, we were prepared & The Mr. found where this was.  it was secluded and lovely.  we ended up going to the other parking lot to walk the other trail, and yeah—- what a pain to go there thinking you were going to reach some waterfalls!

from here, we wanted to go into downtown St. Paul & see some Peanuts character statues.  as we got there, we saw the large and stately library.  but we had to wait a bit for it to open.  but right behind it was the river.  we figured SURELY we could just walk along the MS for awhile.  so we had adventure #1….it was not easy to get to!  we walked all around, asked for help, walked around more and turned out- sure, it could’ve been done easier had we just gone a step or ten further the first time!  and then we get down there, and the part we wanted to explore had been flooded so the sidewalk part was closed.  we were hot & tired so we went back up to the park and got a hot dog from a vendor.  THEN the library opened.  we enjoyed the AC and some books for a bit before we decided, sure- let’s go to the $cience mu$eum!  it was a fun afternoon of something to do.

after we got back to our hotel from being pretty tired, jovie & The Mr. decided to swim for a bit while i chilled back in the room.  restful afternoon & evening with a break in there for dinner.

Day 3- BIRTHDAY- Mall of America


an ELEVEN year old in front of a waterfall in the aquarium in the mall!

sure, that counts!!

we woke up & had planned to just go downstairs for b’fast, but the power was out at the hotel.  [adventure # 1 1/2].we went and found a delicious place instead, and by the time we came back, it was on.  jovie was super excited for the day.  she knew we’d be out & about all day so she opened gifts in the AM.  (unheard of!!)

we had gotten her a (blue!) bike that she found before we left;  and a panda pillow she had wanted.  but we brought some up with us for her to open.  one of them was a lego book she found in the bookfair in january i’ve been holding on to.  we put a note on it that at the MOA she can choose something from the LEGO store to buy.  that thrilled her!!  along with my old phone which is now just an app machine.  she had gotten my other old one way back when.  and alluvasudden, it just EXPLODED.  if any of my readers have talked to jovie in the last 6 months, then you would know that she has been hinting, asking, begging for a phone for this bday.  so it’s a phone machine with limits that just uses apps.  no texting/calling/etc.  delighted nonetheless!

she read her books and explored the phone for all of 20 minutes while the adults when downstairs and had coffee & watched the planes overhead.  (i loved being near the airport!!).  then we ventured on.

and we spent 6 1/2 hours walking walking walking the mall.  it was fun.  she spent a lot of time at the LEGO store, which we went to first, and then again later.  she had brought her own money so even though we got her a thing, she bought herself another littler thing.  when we went back, she spent a little more!  we also spent a good amount of time at the barnes and noble.  and just walking all over.  going to the big aquarium, ducking in and out of some shops that interested her.  then we had a blast doing a mirror maze.  we did it 3x in a row!

we had already decided we were not actually going to do the amusement park part, which i thought would take up a lot of our day.  when we had walked around it at dinner the other night, we saw that many many of the rides were pretty adventurous.  and there wasn’t really a little place she could do all on her own.  there wasn’t anything she really wanted to ride except the ferris wheel, and she said she didn’t miss that at all.  but no worries.  we still filled our time!  SIX AND A HALF HOURS OF IT.

we rested our feet and backs and whatever else for a bit before heading into downtown to enjoy all the fondues at the Melting Pot.  it was a hit!!

she loved her birthday. we did our best to make it exciting!  she has even mentioned traveling again next year. (not to MOA of course).  but she is a little torn, because according to her, she had to keep reminding herself it was her birthday since she wasn’t at home with the usual happenings.

Day 4- Duluth, MN

totally counts.

we drove up to duluth. we were excited to see lake superior.  we stayed at a quaint hotel on the marina and explored the downtown area a bit after going into lunch.  the harbor there has a bridge that raises. we witnessed this a couple times during our stay.

the hotel was nearby a public beach which turned into adventure #2.  we all walked on the rocks and dipped our feet in.  COLD.  and jovie was having fun getting a little further in.  she was trying to decide if she actually wanted to swim but we said no because of all the rocks.  and also because the beach was filled with annoying and biting sand flies!  it was not a good welcome!  we walked down the beach a little bit and had to turn around because it wasn’t fun in the slightest.  between the painful rocks and the annoying flies….

jovie then went swimming in that hotel pool.  it was fly-less!

we headed back to the canal area and had a most delicious & scenic supper.  it had rained just as we got in there & before our entrees came, we were greeted by not one, but TWO rainbows!  it was spectacular.  we went out to see them and i was pretty amazed that they didn’t even break.  you could see the whole arc.  they faded through dinner, but afterwards we went back out and i saw the end of the main one by the pier.


guess this made up for all them dern flies!

day 5- Ashland, WI

today was chock-full of waterfalling!


Big Manitou Falls  *pretend you can hear all of that rushing. it was awesome


Little Manitou Falls

we were really close to superior, WI which had Pattison State Park.  this park had both Big & Little Manitou Falls & jovie was excited by the pix of these in my searches for what to do.  they did not disappoint.  it was a lovely little trail at the Big.  but then we drove down to the Little.

From there, we found out about another nearby falls.  so- Bonus!!


Amnicon Falls

this was a great trail and lots to explore.  including a covered bridge.  unfortunately, it was mis-timed and we were all pretty hangry so we got out of there too soon.  lovely for a bit, though!

after we stopped at a pit-stop type diner down the road for lunch and ice cream #2, we went to a historic inn in Ashland, WI. it was really cool.  when they refurbished it in the 1980’s they did a good job of keeping the historic of the 1880’s.

soon after we checked in, we went to a nearby park that we drove past to get here which was a beach and playground area.  jovie got suited up and went swimming in the cold Lake Superior.  she did great.  she said it was warmer than the fly one.  and this one- BONUS no flies!!  the lake was fairly shallow (compared to our 5’1″ daughter) and she was having a good time.  but she had nobody to play with, so she asked for her favorite playmate (Dad!) to come in.  after some debating, he went in, too.  he did not look entirely comfortable (chilly!) but he swears it was fine.  and they went SO. FAR. AWAY.  they loved it.  and i loved finding some shade AND a bench.  the breeze made me need my hoodie.  it was perfect.

we headed back and jovie stayed in the room while the adults explored the landing/walkway at the hotel.  it was a hot but nice walk.  then we debated on what to do for dinner.  little miss independent wanted to stay back so we went down to the lovely restaurant ourselves.  we brought her back up the leftovers plus some sprite… she was totally fine.

it was a pretty sunset at 8:56pm.

Day 6- St. Croix Falls, WI


Morgan Falls


just one of Copper Falls

we stayed in ashland for the proximity to Mellen to see Copper Falls.  at the bar, a local plus the bartender were telling us if we are going to Mellen, we should also stop in Morgan Falls.  they said it was an easy quick little hike.

it was.

thank goodness.  because adventure #3 and the ruiningest of it all-  there were not sand flies, no. but what i think they call deerflies.  EV.ERY.WH.ERE!!!  swarming.  i cannot use that word strong enough.  disgusting, gross, huge, black, round, skeevy flies.  all over everywhere.  and this is after we put on bug spray.

we put our $5 in the slot and stepped on the trail.  and that’s where it began.  it never let up.  every one of us was getting swarmed.  think of walking thru’ a spider web and how you flail.  now think of doing that all the time that you are walking a mile and a half.  there was a point i was going to turn back b/c we couldn’t even enjoy the hike.  we passed a sweet bridge that was not enjoyed at all.  ben said we were halfway so i trekked on thinking maybe somehow we’d get to the point where they weren’t.  we didn’t.  i am not exaggerating in the slightest when i say that we got to the waterfall (so not worth it) and i snapped the mandatory picture and in the time it took me to put my phone up to my face a fly LANDED ON IT.  i ran the whole way back skeeving and disgusted.  flies were in our hair, on our clothes.  we put on more bugspray at the fall and it seemed to have helped them a little more, but i was attacked the whole way back. it. was. awful!

so now we were worried about going to copper falls.  because that was a bigger park area. and what if it was like this.  i think they were attached to the same forest.

but i guess the 10mile distance did wonders because this park was WON.DER.FUL.  it wasn’t just one waterfall but several.  picturesque rolling rapids and falls.  bridges & scenery.  we had such a good time.  there was a place for The Mr. to skip rocks & just enjoy it.  we had a lovely picnic before making the longish & peaceful drive to St. Croix Falls.

on the way we stopped in a sweet little town called Spooner to explore and stretch our legs, and get ice cream #3 for the 11year old.  coffees for the adults.

we rolled into town and chilled for a little bit before walking nearby to dinner.  we were so glad that the day ended nicer than it began!

Day 7- on our way home

we had a late afternoon flight and were fairly close to minny.  we had originally planned to see St. Croix Falls.  we had also heard about a different waterfall near the border.  but once it was said and done, we just didn’t want to get hot and tired before the flight home.  turned out the actual st. croix falls had been dammed up years back, and what i had seen pictures of were in a nearby state park.  not being sure what the hike would be like, i think we made the right call.  so- we saw 2 waterfalls in one day.  save that one for this day and there you have it (:

so instead, we headed back to the mall of america where we spent time (but no money) @ the lego store.  walked around a bit & ate lunch and a milkshake (ice cream #4)

it was a fabulous trip.  a lovely area. it would be lovely to go back and explore WI some more.  but alas….  we have 21 more states to see….





there went june!

July 1, 2019

oh hi there!  seems we must have skipped june.

we were busy doing some of this, some of that, and some of nothing.  and here we are in july gearing up for more of this and that.  and the last of nothing before MIDDLE SCHOOL!

so far this summer we have:

  • traveled back to MS to see Christina the nanny, photographer, friend.  jovie was thrilled with seeing “a 2 month old and a 1 1/2 year old”.  seriously.  she said that many times a day leading up to our trip.  of course we all had a good time.  adeline was so sweet, and james is a puff-ball of cuteness!
  • performed in version 2 of the page to stage camp.  this one [Seussical the Musical] went fine and well, sure.  but it came with more and more kids (read: chaos).  still, jovie said she enjoyed it and is hoping there won’t be so many young kids next year.
  • then we traveled to the Boston area to visit family, as Uncle Natey got married to Tammy!!  it unfortunately was cold and rainy on their special day, but it all worked out well in the end.  jovie had a great time playing with sophia & sadie!
  • sadly, a camp we signed up for had less interest and got canceled, so we did more of nothing than expected.
  • this while The Mr. traveled to Holland for a week.  we filled time by having some playdates & eating out a couple times.

now, we are looking forward to seeing gramma & grampa again for the 4th.  we will celebrate jovie’s birthday when they come, because this year for the first time, we will be traveling on her special day!

it should be a fun trip.  we can’t wait.

talk to you soon!!

on to new things!

May 24, 2019

goodbye elementary!

jovie is super excited and sad that 5th grade and her elementary years are in the past.  she is very much looking forward to next year, and is hating leaving what’s so familiar and warm.  i agree!  from the moment we walked in to IES 6 years ago, we felt welcomed & loved.  they have taught her well & i know that she is well prepared for the future!

this week was a blast though.  there was no pretense of any work being done.  she didn’t even bring her backpack to school!

movies were watched, picnics were had, kickballs were kicked (her class was crowned Champions!!), friends were talked to, and memories were made.  (there was even a glow party).

today we had to go to the local auditorium because we have too many classes to be in the cafeteria, so it was very much “official!”  a nice little send off.  there were words of inspiration [hope the 10 & 11 year olds can remember them later], awards announced & then they walked across the stage to get their little packet of whatever certificates & report card & writing examples over the last 6 years….

since it was off-site, jovie wanted to come home afterwards so we had lunch here & headed to see the movie Ugly Dolls.  right at this moment, she asked The Mr. to take her to the library.  Way to start the summer off well, Jovie!

tonight we are going to a nice restaurant for dinner, and we’ll be pretty lax with the bedtime.

it will be a fun & whirlwind summer (aren’t they all!).  we are looking forward to sleeping late, acting, visiting, vacationing, and relaxing!


2 weeks to go

May 10, 2019

i wonder why nobody ever tells you that time flies…..

we have 2 weeks left of our elementary school years.   !!!     that’s pretty unbelievable.

i just wanted to document this because in august, i’d love to remind jovie how excited she is about middle school.  she went on a tour last week & we had a parent meeting about it.  y’all- she talked to me for two. hours. straight!

this kid who’s day is “fine” , birthdays are “fun” & vacations are “good”.

she was as animated & excited & proud as when she learned to walk & ride a bike!

she even got into the car after the meeting and wanted to just skip this summer. “can it be the first day of school??”

she is looking forward to making new friends, and joining chorus & other clubs.

she hasn’t said anything negative at all.

The Mr. & i are so pleased with this outlook.  although i never want it to come-  we can’t wait to see how she thrives!

KDG  1st    2nd  3rd   4th


New MexiWOW

April 10, 2019

we just got back from our spring break trip to New Mexico.  and it was more unbelievable than i expected.  truth be told, i knew it would be nice, but i didn’t expect THAT.  basically, i knew as much about NM as was shown in breaking bad–  and the scenery didn’t really steal the show.

i’d always wanted to go to Albuquerque because it’s a fun word.  i say it a lot in made up scenarios.  now i’m glad to say i went there.  AND i can spell it!

the day we booked the trip, we told jovie about it and she immediately got on her chromebook and helped us plan.  it was a pretty wow moment to see our 10 year old research & have ideas about what to do/see. (there’s SO much to see in NM we had to narrow it down and vote on the final city!)

so we spent almost a week of listening to me say “wow!”

Day 1- travel day;  got into town for a late-ish lunch.  we killed some time in the adjoining store until it was time to check into Casas de Suenos.  while we were in the store, we heard the workers and were tracking that auburn elite 8 game (wow).  this day was a little rainy & a little cold.  jovie & i holed up in our room and watched the duke game (wow)

The Mr. went to a grocery store & brought back soup & snacks for supper while we oddly were able to catch the braves game!

a steady rain falling on a rooftop lulled us to sleep even though it was early.

Day 2- ABQ

thanks to EST, we all woke up super early.  luckily we were able to doze until breakfast was served starting at 7.  a lovely fire greeted us while we ate a delicious breakfast.  afterwards we headed to Petroglyph National Monument.  we took some lovely trails to see rock drawings from 1,000+ years ago on rocks which were made from geological events that occurred 200,000 years ago. (WOW)  it was a little hazy when we got to the top to see the distant mountains, but it was all so lovely & peaceful!

afterwards we had lunch & went to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.  that was fascinatingly sad.  then we meandered around Old Town for a bit.  after a nice coffee break, The Mr. went out for a run while jovie & i read & pretended around the grounds of the B&B.  [you can determine who did what].  The Mr. came back and was excited to tell us about the path he took which ended up on a lovely bridge over the Rio Grande & the fact that the haze had lifted so mountains were in view.  so of course, we went to see this before heading to dinner.  WOW!

we were surprised that yet again we were able to watch the braves before heading to bed.



those 6 little volcanoes erupted hundreds of thousands of years ago to give us this valley of basalt rocks to explore!  wow!


what a beautiful day & peaceful area!

IMG_0045 (2)

Day 3– Santa Fe

after another great breakfast, we headed up to santa fe via the Turquoise Trail.  that is a lovely drive which put us on the Musical Highway-  a mile stretch of Route 66 that plays America the Beautiful if you follow the speed limit.  that was very WOW.  we did it twice.  it was the thing jovie said she was looking forward to before the trip.

we also made a stop at Tinkertown Museum which was fascinatingly cute and bit wow with all of the talent.

after stopping at a whole foods for lunch- jovie was enthralled that it was “a little like a grocery store and a restaurant” i was enthralled that it had a bar and a masseuse!- we walked around the downtown area for a little while before heading to the hotel.  while i took a nap, The Mr. took his daughter to the heated pool while he sat by the fire because it was freezing!  (wow!) she did not care!  i went down and enjoyed the time by the fire, too.

then we got take out for supper.  jovie was overjoyed because we left her while The Mr. & i strolled downtown again.

Day 4– near Santa Fe

finally getting used to the time zone, we woke up “late” & ate a delicious breakfast at Tia Sophia’s.  Glad we got an early start because we went straight to Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.  getting there was gorgeous and being there was amazing! WOW for sure!

this is another fascinating area that was developed by volcanic activity 6-7 million years ago.  what is left is pumice & ash which formed into hoodoos.  that’s a lot of weird words to say “beautiful!”


and right when we left, we saw the sky darken over it. so we really lucked out in the weather department!

had another lunch at whole foods and then headed to the most bizarre and sensory-overloaded place called meow wolf.  it defies logic & explanation.  we were hoping it would be like city museum but with a backstory.  but it was a bit much for jovie, so The Mr. drove us back to the hotel and then explored it on his own.  bizarro.

Day 5– Taos

we took “the high road” to Taos.  yet another gorgeous scenic drive.  (wow) we stopped & hiked up to eat our lunch at a waterfall.  (wow!) and jovie was pretty brave.  we even found some snow and pulled over on the mountain for jovie to play for a few minutes. (wow!)

taos is what we voted on when deciding what else to do in NM.  this was a quaint town & we enjoyed our stay at Old Taos Guesthouse.  it was lovely.

The Mr. went and picked up dinner & dessert & we enjoyed a lovely evening.

Day 6– Taos

we came to Taos solely for the bridge i had seen once on pinterest.

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.  WOW WOW WOW.  it did not disappoint.  at all!

jovie was a little nervous about it and decided not to cross it, so The Mr. & i took turns.  once i got there, i realized she made the right call.  the slats of the railings let you watch the world walk by as you are crossing it, and it made me a little dizzy.  plus it was fairly windy. i was so scared even taking pictures that i would lose my phone.

it was a gorgeous day.  we even got to see some mountain goats (?? or something?) down below.

after leftovers for lunch, we headed to the Taos Pueblo. it was amazing to see the longest continuously inhabited pueblo.  1,000+ years old. wow. fascinating.  lovely setting.

then back to town for some ice cream and just a lazy afternoon for our last day.



this church is from the 1800s


one of those buildings is 1,000 years old.  & there was more to this village than this picture.


Day 7- sadness

after breakfast we had to leave fairly immediately to get to the aiport back in Albuquerque (so fun!) so we didn’t have time to meander down the “high road” but c’mon.  is the “low road” so horrible???





how does she do it?

March 28, 2019

over the years i have been amazed at how ESP jovie can be.  she has really wowed me.  several times.

but now, just by speaking, she makes things happen.

just yesterday she was doing social studies homework and we got into a discussion about how boys register for selective service; and she said she thought that was for jury duty.  then she asked me if i was ever on jury duty.  my response was no- it never worked out; and the last time i was called was when she was a few months old so i was excused.

my head was telling me “until tomorrow”

wished i said that out loud.  because i came home from the store today, and jovie & The Mr. had none other than a jury summons for me.

seriously- how does she do it??

mini trip

February 28, 2019

this year, our Winter Break was an extra long weekend instead of a week off.  we had tried to get back in the same Savannah house but it was already booked.

we then decided to down to St. Simon’s Island instead.

and we loved it.

we had just a couple days there, but we made the most of them!

day 1– we rolled into town and it was too early to check in our condo.  so we went to the lighthouse, with the intention of climbing/touring it.  but jovie’s not a big fan of heights and decided she wasn’t that interested.  so we just meandered along the boardwalk, shops & pier [& ice cream of course] and then headed to the condo.

which was adorable.  the owners updated it so nicely.  they had gorgeous travel photos that added a lot of character!

we were pretty chill from the drive so we stuck around while The Mr. brought home some easy dinner.  jovie loved that, and set the sweet table so nicely!  we had a lovely pre-dinner walk on the beach, too.

our owners spared no pillows!  so the beds were comfy & cozy.  jovie enjoyed making herself a little nook.  it was a good day.

day 2– we had a lazy breakfast (after The Mr. had a not so lazy run) and enjoyed the porch some more.  then we headed down to the cloudy beach for a little while.  jovie enjoyed playing in the sand and just relaxing.  the cloudiness helped it not be too hot and i’ve never seen a tide so low (or shoreline so low??) so there was a lot of space for jovie to roam.


not even in the water!

so our butler The Mr. went again and grabbed some lunch while we stayed a bit longer.  then we chilled back at the house a bit before deciding to rent bikes (!!) in the late afternoon.

that was a lot of fun!  we had the bikes for a coupla hours.  St. Simon’s is very bikeable.  and it’s so small! we ended up going around the airport and i loved that so much because we got to see a plane land SO CLOSE to us.  and then one took off, too!  for such a tiny airport, i was surprised we got to see both happen.  YAY!  jovie was pretty tired.  (how do you do it grampa??) so The Mr. enjoyed exploring with his bike some more while we went back to the house to read and wander.

he came back in time for us to go out to dinner and have another early night.  but not before the fog rolled in.  (because of course!)  tho’ it was pretty neat to see it roll in from the porch swing!

[many of my 2 readers know about The Mr. & fog!  see: California, my 40th, the 24 rainy hours in Salzburg, and quite a few other instances]

day 3– we left jovie home alone after breakfast so we could walk the beach for about 1/2 hour.  we enjoyed more lazy morning time.  the weather forecast kept touting rain, but we pretty much lucked out.  it was nice & sunny so we went to the pier to have lunch…  basically during the entire 30 minutes it did decide to rain afterall.  no worries, there was a nearby pavilion that covered us so we could eat our hot dogs in peace.  after a little lunch, we headed to the movie theatre to see Lego 2.  (some catchy songs!) and then we went to Fort Frederica before having our last dinner out and headed back to the house after having ice cream for dessert.  it was a lovely night!  (i picked out a pizza place that reminded me of my fave restaurant in NYC with lights and stuff all around!)

day 4 had us packing up the house after enjoying a nice breakfast out and heading home.

luckily, we got back in time for jovie to go to her 4H cooking club.  and luckier still we had wednesday off to chill at home.  it was rainy, so we pretty much just huddled in the house.

it was a nice short vacation.

now we’re gearing up for The Mr. to head to china (!) and then it’ll be Spring Break before we know it!