2016 – Things We Learned

Grandchildren are the best, aren’t they?

  • Emma turned one last January (1/18) and celebrated at the Bounce House and Valentino’s with pizza and cake. She toddles around, loves her pets, and always has a smile on her face.
  • August turned 1 in September (9/27) and celebrated with a space-themed party on Grimsrud Way in Rushford. He loves the kitties, the Zoo, dancing, bath time, books and bubbles. He’s always on the move! We Skype frequently and I love the smiles when we talk!
  • Kaydee just turned 5 (12/11) and we had her favorite foods and birthday cake while playing with the pink tractor she wanted for her birthday! She loves to learn and is so fun to talk to!

Our “children” are now all “adult children”!

  • Marissa turned 28 in February, Tyler turned 24 in October, Sierra turned 20 in August and Kevin turned 18 in November!

Retirement looks like fun!

  • We celebrated the “Permanent Vacation” of Mom and Dad Grimsrud in February with a tropical themed family gathering. They spent 6 weeks after basketball season in the warmth of Florida and with the sale of Grimsrud Way this December they downsized to a townhome in Rochester, and are looking forward to the ease of worry-free travels and living!

Family Time is Precious!

  •  We had a few weekends where we could all get together at French Lake this summer. The cabin hasn’t expanded to fit the growing family, but there are tents pitched, a new platform on the dock, and air mattresses galore, so we make it work. Memorial Day, Father’s Day and the Fourth of July were familyfun-filled.
  • August’s birthday and Thanksgiving were the last big events at Grimsrud Way. When we’re together, we always eat well, laugh a lot, play games, and enjoy each other’s company. That won’t change, wherever we gather!

Friendships are so valuable and valued!

  • Cosmo Girls continue to meet monthly September to May since 2010 – we learn and grow together, and laugh – a LOT!
  • Ferragosto at French Lake has been a yearly tradition since 2010, as well! This year was rainy, which meant more books and movies, but the time spent with friends is always appreciated!
  • Marissa said “YES” to the dress at the first bridal salon and then spent a fun day with girlfriends picking out bridesmaid dresses – the wedding in Cancun is coming up quickly!
  • Trips to the MN State Fair, the MN Zoo, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Little Mermaid, chick flicks, book club, or quick walks and lunches. SO thankful for my many girlfriends!

We love adventures – big and small!

  • We got our passports in 2016, so we are ready for international travel! We broke them in by visiting Canada twice (Thunder Bay, ON in June and Niagara Falls, ON/Montreal, QE in October) and are getting ready for Mexico in May. We look forward to working on our international bucket list!
  • Chris’s birthday wish was to go “Up North” – I guess he’s fully Minnesotan now??? We road-tripped to Grand Marais and Duluth, exploring the North Shore of Lake Superior. This was our first venture into Canada – Thunder Bay for Tim Horton’s lunch on Chris’s birthday! Great food (Betty’s Pies! Gunflint Tavern! Grandma’s Saloon! Amazing Grace!), beautiful accommodations and perfect weather for sightseeing… we do travel well!
  • MINI Takes the States 2016 – a coast-to-coast motoring adventure for MINI COOPER owners – went through MINIapolis this summer and we joined in the festivities for the day! We met MINI owners from Minnesota and beyond. It happens every 2 years, so we hope to join more fully in 2018! This year our 2 week road trip to New England was a priority!
  • Road Trip! Driving the MINI to New England was a whirlwind tour, to be sure – we were on the go! We stayed in Niagara Falls and Montreal before heading in to New Hampshire to spend time with Dad Walsh and Jen and her family; we stayed in a mountain lodge in the White Mountains, we drove up mountains and on beautiful scenic byways. We had a great time with extended family (Chris’s maternal aunts and uncles, paternal aunt and granny), visited friends Tony and Tien in Rhode Island, and spent a few days in NYC with Troy. In RI we toured the Vanderbilt mansion, The Breakers, and walked in beautiful old neighborhoods. In NYC we saw two Broadway shows (Fiddler on the Roof and Waitress), saw the New York Public Library, the Strand Bookstore, the Museum of Natural History, ate at Carnegie Deli one last time before they close, and walked a LOT.
  • A few things we learned on our road trip:
    • Chris wants to pass ALL the cars on the road. He drove most of the time, including into and out of NYC. A skilled driver he is! No “souvenir” speeding tickets obtained!
    • Chris was right about the fall foliage in New England being unlike anything we see around Minnesota.
    • Flip-flops are great travel shoes.
    • I always over-pack.
    • Bunk-beds only sound appealing in theory.
    • EZ Pass is the way to go.
    • A road trip playlist for daily listening is an excellent idea!
    • But, I still would make up words to the songs, even after 12+ days of listening to them!

Working these crazy shift jobs means more days off without using PTO!

  • Chris has been working at Land O’Lakes for more than 4 years now. He is working 12 hour overnights (5P-5A) as a cheese dryer operator – one of four operators making the cheese powder for Cheetos! He works every other weekend, so time off during the week gives us opportunity for some of our many adventures.
  • Chris spent a good portion of November serving as a juror on the US District Court in Minneapolis. He spent 11 days in court, so missed about 8 days of work. He enjoyed the metropolitan lifestyle for a while and learned a little about non-compete clauses.
  • I have been working at Mayo Clinic for 5 years this January (2017), still in the Emergency Department. It’s a 24/7 job, so there is opportunity for a variety of 12 hour shifts, and every 3rd weekend means days off during the week with Chris = #dayofftogetherness. We can run to the Cities to see Marissa (or August) on a Wednesday night, or get tickets to events or touring plays during the week (If/Then or Louis CK), see late-night movies, or have epic dates on a Tuesday. So far it’s working.

Can’t Cure Chris of his Car Craze

  • Chris learned that his Honda CRZ did not hold its value.
  • He thought he’d keep it forever (or longer than 18 months) but he is now driving a Toyota 4Runner.
  • He has great ideas for modifying the MINI Cooper, but I’m fine with my Pumpkin as she is.

Ever learning, we are! We can’t wait to experience the adventures of 2017. We hope that you and yours have a blessed holiday season and that 2017 brings you joy and happiness! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

Image result for happy new year

40 Things (37)

Bel Canto (novel)

Image via Wikipedia

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, Day 37 –

37) A book that I still think about years after having read it

Gosh, there are a lot of books that I still think about, years later.  I’d like to re-read “Tale of Two Cities” sometime, as I remember loving it in high school and have vivid pictures in my head relating to the story.  I also was amazed by “Death of a Salesmen” when I read it in college.  Just blown away.  And “The Color Purple” was beautifully vivid, and I can also see those pictures in my head.  More recent books that I still think about include: “Those Who Save Us,” “Bel Canto,” “Peace Like a River,” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”

#37 on my list was: Road trips with Kitschy Side Trips.  Unfortunately, I haven’t taken many road trips that allow for scenic stops along the way.  I’m usually purposeful in my travel, trying to get from Point A to Point B in a timely fashion.  But in October of 2007 my friend Beth and I took a mid-week road trip from our SE corner of the state of Minnesota to Pierre, SD.  Beth’s sister lives there and works in a bookstore that was hosting a Lorna Landvik book signing and discussion.

The Corn Palace

So we took off one Tuesday morning, stopping at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD – yes, a building and gymnasium decorated with corn.

We also stopped at cute restaurants for our meals.  It was a blast getting there, and the adventures continued when we met Lorna. She was promoting her book, “The View from Mount Joy,” which we read in preparation of meeting her.  We had photos taken with her, drank wine with her, and eventually took her site seeing around Pierre with Beth’s sister in the lead!  We went to the Veteran’s Memorial in Pierre and lit the flaming fountain.  We had such a good time with many well-needed laughs.  I need to do this more often!

We have met with Lorna twice since this first trip: once at the Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, where she has a stand up routine in January, and she joined us for dessert afterwards, and once in our hometown where we bid and won dinner with her for a library fundraiser.  Good stuff.

at Bryant Lake Bowl

Off to read!