Sunday, March 28, 2010

life in AZ

I am finally able to upload picture to this blog....I don't know what was going on before!  They are not in order, but oh well...
We are finally starting to feel like life is getting back to "normal" around here again!  After three different hospital stays with Taryn in the last month and a half, we are glad that she is finally well!!  It was not easy juggling between home and the hospital.
It has rained so much here this winter and now the desert is so green and beautiful!!  Frans' sinuses don't like it tho!  We have started hiking a few times a week, and the girls like it too!  I'm just bummed that we didn't start this a long time it is going to start getting really hot, and that's going to be miserable hiking in the heat!
Went to the Zoo yesterday for the grandma orangutan's 50th birthday (Duchess)  They are my favorite zoo animal!  Duchess is the one on the right in the picture.  We had the perfect weather for the zoo too....about 75 and windy.
In other news, Frans went to PV college and took some placement tests on Friday.  Now he's just got to meet with somebody and find out what classes he should be taking!  Hoping to start with summer classes....exciting!
anyways, I'm rambling...hope everyone is doing good!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A glimpse of Seattle trip

We had a great time in Seattle and Longview. After flying in, we met Eric, Rosie and kids downtown Seattle and piled into their car for a night tour of the city. Amazing how quickly Eric has learned the city! Friday the guys went shooting while Rosie, the kids and I hung out. Visited at Tricia and Blaine's that night. Saturday we went to Longview for Kayla and Mitch's wedding - very special to be there. We spent the evening and night visiting at Phil and Sarah's. Slept a bit before time to head to church. After church we headed back to Seattle. Hiked in the Paradise Valley Nature Conservation Area before church that evening. Monday the guys went shooting again for a bit, then we headed home. Super fun to be there, but always good to come home.

The moss bus stop hut is one of many pictures I got of the "greenery" there :). While on our way to west Seattle, we got out of the rain and saw a beautiful rainbow over the city. Had to shoot it quick out the car window through a bridge tressel, going 70 mph, but I think it worked.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Heidi visits in Brainerd while Dad is at an exotic auction

                                                            Heidi finds some Knäckebröd (hard tack)
                                   in grandma's cupboard.  She thought it
                                   was pretty good

                                  in fact, good enough to feed to grandma

                                  and grandpa too.  Have to make sure it stays 
                                  in his mouth!                     

Friday, March 19, 2010

Grandma and Grandpa with AZ Kuoppala grandchildren

Aloha!  We had just returned from our week stay in Oahu.  Got our 50th state capitol
picture.  Center is open to the sky and around the opening it is meant to look like a
volcano.  The pillars in front and back represent all the Hawai'ian islands.  Next day to
the Arizona Memorial, a consecrated site.  Those who were on shore leave on the day
"that will live in infamy", if they so desire, when they pass away they can be cremated and entombed on the Arizona.  There is still a drop of oil coming to the surface every once in awhile,  referred to as tears of those there entombed.

Went to the North Shore but the waves weren't as high as they are "in Winter" though there were many body surfing.  Stopped at the Polynesian Culture Center.  First thing we came to was a picture opportunity in a grass skirt!  We did not stay for the evening
preformance and we never did see a luau!

Walked the beach of Waikiki but on the sidewalk!  Lots of people sunbathing.  The
beautiful park like grounds next to the beach is home to many, many homeless.  We went on a 2 1/2 hr. whale watch lunch cruise.  Did get whale pictures but not with their tail up, just rolling over.  We had been warned to dress warmly when I made the reservations but it was not too cold on deck for us Minnesotans.

It seemed as though we were in a foreign country.  Yes, English spoken but other
languages we didn't understand.  Rode the buses but the street names were also like a
foreign country:  Kaiulani, Uluniu, Kealohilani, and our hotel the Royal Garden was located on Olohana, just a block off one of the main bus routes. 

Your father tans so quickly and I just get red.  Many sites we didn't get to, one being
the Dole Plantation.       Aloha.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fun to see a dream fulfilled

We had so much fun enjoying both the Ceremonial Start in Anchorage and the Restart in Willow ... and getting to share it with Jen for the first time.

Jen and I are dreaming of going to Nome for the finish of the Iditarod. Someone told me at work yesterday that the tickets are about $700 from Anchorage to Nome. Hmmm. Just checked, putting in dates for April for the fun of it. $473. Might have to save for that one for a while. Sure would be fun though! Especially after tracking Lance Mackey yesterday and then watching him come in to Nome .... live. Kind of managed to get into the swing of things a bit more this year. :)


Thursday, March 11, 2010

a couple more pictures

March 4th was "Day on the Hill" for the Minnesota
Coalition for the Homeless. I spent quality time with Liz in the days leading up to it, in helping to prepare for the big day! I can very much admit to the fact that I have not talked to so many elected officials in my life as I did in the days leading to the event! Doing data entry, calling to set up schedules for constituents to meet with their senator and representative, to whatever else Liz could think of for me to do, I did. Then the day finally arrived! Huge turnout and very informative for me! I went with this group to meet with the man that says he will forever be my Senator as long as I live in the state. (David Tomassoni, from Chisholm)

I've never actually looked around the capitol before. So when everything was done, Liz gave me a guided tour! Thank you, Elizabeth! I decided I would go back to her office while waiting to catch the plane. On the way there, the phone rings; "if you're not sick of lobbying yet, there's a hearing at the capitol." Since I had the guided tour I knew where the room was, I turned around and met her there.

Time to head for the airport! I was so exhausted, I tried to keep my eyes open to hear the stories that the lady sitting next to me was telling. And then I slept! I awoke when we landed, but I just couldn't stay awake. Asked the kind lady if she would wake me up when our row was getting out. Slept to the last minute! Amber was there to pick me up and I spent the night at her house. While Ryan was at an appointment Amber, Nolan and I went driving around and looked at some stores. Anita picked me up after work and we got some game playing in!

Saturday morning, back to Anchorage, but this time for my whole reasoning for going to Alaska. The ceremonial start of the Iditarod. And then the restart in Willow on Sunday afternoon. Ryan, Amber and Nolan were there! The breeze was a little chilly, but beautiful day for the race to start. Anita and I picked who we wanted to be in the top ten. The guy from Minnesota, the husband and wife who each have a team, the runway model turned musher, the 69yr. old man... So far, we aren't doing so good!

The thought was that I would sleep all day on Monday, while Anita was working, so I would be all caught up on my sleep. And that is exactly what I did! Once I got to the airport, Monday evening, I was informed that they had overbooked and if I was interested in giving up my seat voluntarily. I wouldn't let her finish, and immediately said I would. An extra day in Alaska and $400 voucher towards my next flight, I couldn't pass it up! Called Anita and she turned around! Now I am hoping to make it to Nome some year! Would love to be able to see the dogs come in after they just completed a 1049 mile journey across Alaska. But in the meantime I guess I will just follow them on the website! That was my week. Now tomorrow I head north and work at the shelter. ~jen~

Happy Birthday Anita!

Smiles and laughter, joy and cheer

New happiness that stays throughout the year

Hope your birthday brings all these and more

Filling life with surprise and joys galore!

Wishing you a Happy Birthday!
With love,

Monday, March 08, 2010


Shawn is back to work now and has many jobs beginning to line up for the summer which is great....

Miss Heidi turns 1 on Wednesday.. time has flown by......

We have 5 baby lambs born thus far and 2 more sheep to go (hopefully one will lamb soon)......

We have butchered 5 pigs and 8 more going in this week.....

I just keep on working and loving my job....

My daycare lady closes for the summer, so I'm scrambling trying to find an opening and not having any success.... a child needs to be in the infant room until 16 months old of which Heidi doesn't turn until 7/10.... one day care center will have openings in the infant room in November of 2011.... nothing like needing to make plans a bit early if you want/need your child in daycare....

Life in a nutshell for us... I would love to post pictures, but have learned that I'm not the most patient person and refuse to download photos on a dial up connection and not able to do so from my work computer, so will have to find another way.

Have a great week

H, S, and H.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


Slowly recovering from the loss of Katie. 

Did we tell you that Mitchell got a puppy for Christmas?  He named him Chance because he said he thought there would be a slim chance that Dad would ever let him get a puppy.  It took awhile to convince Dave but we finally broke him down.  Chance is still looking for Katie outside.

Tanner and I had our appointment with the Navy recruiter and next we are going to the Air Force.  Not like the past where you could get in with no problems and get your career choice.  Most jobs are full unless you want Navy Seals or Bomb Squad.  I am sure we will find the same with the Air Force.  Seems like the only branch where they really need people is the Army.  I think the economy and cost of college has a huge effect on the military and these young folks looking at the military route as an alternative.  Bottom line is Tanner can pick 5 career choices but he may not get any of them.  He still wants to join but is leaning towards the Air Force. 

I still love my job, most interesting place I have ever worked.  I have applied to go to ACE Camp in June as a chaperone for high school kids which I would get paid for.  They spend an entire week at an Air Force base and learn about aviation careers.  We fly in helicopters, planes, fly gliders, build hot air balloons, visit all facets of the airport and visit aviation museums etc.  You have to apply for the camp but I have been told that I am being considered highly for the week long duty.  The cost for kids to go to camp is around $450 but they offer scholarships to the program and you have to be a sophmore I think.  We also have a graduation ceremony following the camp.  Kinda cool.  Mitchell is going to New York with Grandpa and Grandma that week so it works out perfect and Dave will have to spend some quality time with Chance. (tee hee).

Dave went up north last week end to watch Gary at his horse clinic and said he was very impressed with Gary's talent with horses. I couldn't go because Mitchell was at a birthday party and had another event on Saturday afternoon.  He was amazed with Gary's training of horses.  I call Gary the "Horse Whisperer".  We all hope to get to Gary's next clinic.

Well, signing off for now...You all have a great week.