A Wedding and Minnesota Mosquitos

I had heard stories of Minnesota mosquitos but, as our plane left Dallas and pointed north I forgot them.

My mom and I were going to the wedding of my niece, Kelli, and, once we landed –  and the rain cleared out – we were left with weather perfected.   Lows in the high-50’s and highs in the low 80’s and low humidity made for a wonderful, and much appreciated, break from the oppressive heat and high humidity we had been experiencing.

The wedding was beautiful and joyful – as weddings should be – and I loved watching as Kelli was happily wed to Erik.  They – along with two year-old Jace, are good together and make a super sweet family.

Finding myself with free time the next day the cool morning beckoned me outside to do some exploring.

Elk River had lots of natural settings to enjoy and my soul was filled with appreciation for this little piece of heaven.  An abundance of huge evergreens conjured up visions of Christmas trees covered in snow and laced with twinkling lights.

Elk River, MN

Quaint landscapes with red barns and the meandering Mississippi River invoked feelings of tranquility and peace.

But, relaxing landscapes and Christmas dreams aside, I wanted to do some hiking, and, lucky me, trails were easy to find.  There was an abundance of choices, all within a 10 minute drive.

Looking at a map of the parks I settled on one described as “home to six miles of challenging trails through 80 acres of oak forest”

Perfect!

My exuberance apparently fogged my brain and in the excitement of my impending adventure I didn’t remember that Minnesota had received a lot of rain in the previous weeks.

And, I didn’t remember that bugs tend to be worse near bodies of water.

And, I didn’t remember that when you combine standing water – or streams or rivers or lakes –  with a canopy of trees that mosquitoes tend to multiply exponentially.

And, I didn’t remember that, as a general rule, mosquitos LOVE me.

Most important…..I didn’t remember bug spray.

Can you tell what’s coming?

Yep, as I hiked into the forest I discovered there were plenty of those pesky parasites and each time I stopped moving they were determined to move in for the kill feast.

The hike was now forgotten and the race was on as I began running.  They wanted to eat me alive?  Well, first they were going to have to catch me!  I foolishly felt sure I would win this contest.

Oh I was so wrong.

Each time I stopped I resembled a wild woman – waving my arms all around while slapping myself.  Obviously, I wasn’t going to be stopping too often, or for very long, so checking my gps was going to be a challenge.  As a result, I took a wrong turn and went deeper into the woods instead of out.

Forty-five minutes – and what felt like four thousand bites later, it was the pests who got the win.  Dragging my sorry bit-up butt out of the forest I admitted defeat.

Mosquitoes – one, me – zero.

And, okay, let’s be real – four thousand might be a bit of an exaggeration.

Kelli & ErikOh well. What’s an adventure without a little adversity?  The wonderful time I had with family while enjoying beautiful sights and amazing temperatures made my potentially serious lapse in thinking a minor nuisance.  Overall – I had fun and that was worth dealing with a few bug bites.

Minnesota….I still love you.  I may have lost the race but the beauty of the area – and some Benadryl – made my not-so-clever choice well worth the aggravation.

 

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Stubborn For the Win

When your school is small and it feels like – for a variety of reasons – the deck is consistently stacked against you – the temptation could be to throw in the towel and give up.  But, make no mistake when you overcome the odds – especially when it’s your 8th grade year – and win……It.Is.Sweet.

Basketball runner-up

In fifth grade they came so close – only to be denied the Big Win.

Their sixth and seventh grade years were hopeful seasons with disappointing eliminations in the play-offs.

 

Early on the boys decided eighth grade was going to be their year.  Working hard, they overcame the odds and prevailed. Stubborn? Persistent? Or, just highly motivated?  Probably a combination of all three. Whatever it was – these guys not only took the basketball championship but, made history for our little parochial school (named for St. Paul) and brought home the 1st place trophy for baseball too.

Basketball semi

Going to the Championship!

The semi-finals was a game against the #1 team.  Excited about their chances our fans packed the stands and cheered loudly.  It was close but with 1-second left before the buzzer #31, Eli, did a Hail Mary for a 3-pointer, made the shot and won the game.

The championship game brought even more St. Paul fans and another close score.  But, in the end, the Packers prevailed and took home the trophy.  It was one of the best nights of their young lives.

Basketball champsThey Won! They Won!

Basketball champs8th grade Dallas Parochial League 2016 Champions

Basketball champsBen with the basketball trophy and his medal

Basketball champsHappy Moms – we were loud and proud

Several of the boys also played baseball and, wanting to make the most of their last season as St. Paul Packers, formed a team. With the basketball season complete they set their eyes on the baseball prize.

Baseball champsAn undefeated season took them to the last game of both the year and middle-school.

Baseball champs

8th grade Dallas Parochial League 2016 Baseball Champs

Baseball champs

Ben with the baseball trophy and his medal

Baseball champsWearing our matching Packer Pride shirts we happily posed with our sons medals

 Two championships in one year – these young men made all of us – parents, coaches, friends, teachers and administrators – super duper proud. No question it was a pretty exciting spring semester.

WPC: Good Mornings In Texas

This weeks photo challenge is Mornings.

Often I find a good morning will set the tone for the day and spectacular sunrises are always a good sign.  Add in some critters and coffee and I’m reminded, once again, of how great God is.

Stunning Skies

coffee

Coffee and Flowers

Bird Watching

SpiderSunrise With a Spider

 

Squirrel Antics

 

It’s a good morning!