Since another weekend is nearly upon us, I thought it was high time to update you on what kept our hineys hopping last weekend! It was a full weekend, but all things we enjoy, so no complaints about the lack of downtime. The fun started earlier in the week when Gavin and I went to our friend Deanna's new place for dinner - one of my all-time favorite meals - grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Gavin and Madi had a blast checking out Madi's new place and playing with her HotWheels car hauler trailer. The following afternoon, my friend Coleen came for some catch-up. Gavin was a crankster when I picked him up from daycare, so although I was glad he had the chance to see Coleen and she had the chance to see how much he's grown since she last saw him in October, I was anxious to get him down for nap. Of course it would be this day that he was a bear to get to bed! Not that he isn't always a bear to get to bed at night, but he is usually a lamb at naptime - snuggles right in and goes off to sleep. Not Friday though. I ended up letting him nap in my bed. He wanted to sleep on the couch, which was not going to fly, so we compromised. While Gavin napped Coleen and I did a bit of sewing and caught up on all the news and chatter we've missed out on since I changed jobs back in November. I still work in Minneapolis every couple of weeks, so we've had a few chances to chat, but not at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. She showed me all of her recent sewing projects and I worked on sewing Gavin a little boy tie that I've been dying to get time to work on. It turned out so cute and I've already got a few more cut out and ready to sew!
Friday night we headed over to Missy & Colin's for dinner. We brought fruit kebabs, guacamole and chips, and a yummy salad and they made the most delicious linguini carbonara and brussels sprouts. It was a beautiful, delicious dinner with friends. We even got to spend some time and get to know a friend a bit better who we don't normally spend time with and hadn't seen in over a year, which was super fun. All of the kids had fun playing together and they all left tired and worn out from all the playing and running, dressed in their jammies and ready to crash for the night.
Saturday morning we had a slow, relaxed start to the day and I ended up going up to the Lakehouse mid-morning. Cliff decided to stay home, so he kept Gavin with him, which allowed me to get more work done up on the Lakehouse. I picked up my niece Dana on the way up there and found my Dad, my brother and sister-in-law and my sister there when we arrived. We got a fair amount of work done up there, which always feels good. It was a really cold day, so I didn't venture down to the lake at all, but it was full of ice houses! We tore out carpet and padding, pulled staples and nails, adjusted floor levels to even things out a bit, my brother mudded some new sheetrock, my sister-in-law painted trim, my sister worked on plumbing, we all did our share of heavy lifting and maneuvering as we moved tools and materials around to make room to work. While I was up at the lake, Gavin and Cliff did a little sporting goods shopping followed bu a top at McDonald's which Gavin loved, no doubt. When we were all home again, we played for a bit before Cliff and I got ready to go out on a date while Dana babysat.
We had a fun date. Dana made fun of us as we were getting ready to go out - she said we were lame. I said to Cliff, "maybe we could stop at Goodwill before dinner" (there was something in particular there that I had passed up a couple of days earlier and I really wanted to go back and get it as I had a great DIY project in mind). Cliff said, "Funny, that's exactly what I was thinking" and Dana laughed at us because we both thought a stop at Goodwill was a great idea for our date night! Then as we were getting dressed to go out, we both ended up sitting on our bed glued to the TV because one of our favorite episodes of "Little House on the Prairie" was on... Dana said, "Let me get this straight... You two are delaying your date to Goodwill, because you're both too hooked on Little House to finish getting ready?" Cliff told her that must be why we're still married after 10 years. Wow. We've been married for almost 10 years.
As it turned out, Goodwill was closed when we got there so we went to Dollar Tree instead. Is that better or worse? Would you believe he'd never been to a Dollar Tree? It was fun to experience Dollar Tree with someone who'd never been in one. We somehow managed to spend $25 when everything was $1. Gavin got a bunch of new Hot Wheels, a Samurai sword, that will be super fun for Halloween if we can make it last that long, some storage baskets, and I got the cutest headband. We actually bought frozen pie slices (key lime and chocolate silk) at Dollar Tree and later when our waitress asked if we saved room for dessert, Cliff actually said to her "Thanks, but we bought dessert at the dollar store and we're going to go home and eat it". I just about died. Really. I was slightly embarrassed, but the fact is, that is the way we roll... and the pie? It was pretty good for a $1 slice of pie! Our dinner was also excellent. Cliff had his favorite battered walleye with red pepper mayonaise and the most perfectly roasted baby red potatoes and broccoli and I had Wild Mushroom and Chicken Penne in a Marsala Alfredo Sauce. We both enjoyed a couple of our favorite beers with our fantastic dinner, and really, really enjoyed eachother's company. When we got home, we watched Bridesmaids and shared a couple more beers. I've seen it a couple of times and still think it is just so disturbingly hilarious. Cliff hadn't seen it so it was funny to watch it with him.
Sunday was just as busy as the rest of the weekend, but more satisfying. In the morning, I got up and went outside with Gavin for a couple of hours while Cliff worked on a project in the garage. It was turning out to be a beautiful morning and although it was chilly on the west side of the woods, it was warming up by the minute. Our walk along the edge of the woods / field reminded me how quickly the Buckthorn is taking over our "natural spaces" in our yard so I went in and asked Cliff if he'd be interested in cutting some Buckthorn with me. We ended up dropping Gavin off at Cliff's parents' house and got to work cutting down Buckthorn, a LOT of Buckthorn, an enormous amount of Buckthorn. We started with one manageble area, right in the middle of our front yard, in our "natural" circle, which is just a little wild patch of trees and weeds, berry canes, and well... buckthorn. I've planted several of my favorite native woodland flowers in there too, hoping to coax it back to a little mini-forest, but they struggle. We knew there was a fair amount of Buckthorn in there, but we didn't realize that it was pretty much all Buckthorn. Buckthorn, three or four wild honeysuckle bushes, and some Elm trees. We took out ALL of the Buckthorn, two of the honeysuckle, and about three Elms. We cut wood, hauled wood, dragged trees over to the woodpile area for cutting, and dragged buckthorn trees, bushes, and saplings to a pile in the middle of the yard to burn. The pile of brush is now the size of my kitchen and the front yard looks amazingly different. I am so excited for what I want to do with that space now. We worked on clearing the Buckthorn for about 5 hours, and it felt so good to get this small piece done. It's maybe 1/6 of all the Buckthorn we need to clear, but it was right in the middle of the yard where most of the rest of it is along the edges. Guess what we're doing this weekend?!?!?!
I'm not sure that my woodland flowers are going to survive as it's going to take some lethal measures to keep the Buckthorn from coming back. It's like mold, the more there is the more there is the more there is!
Anyone feel like cutting Buckthorn this weekend????