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Saturday, March 22, 2008

OMG! JBJ!!!

Wednesday night will live in my memory for a lifetime! For our 5th Wedding Anniversary, my dear husband treated me to an incredible Bon Jovi concert over in St. Paul at the Xcel Energy Center. It was amazing!!! He bought the tickets on eBay and completely surprised me with them while we were celebrating our anniversary up in Ashland. I remember squealing...he remembers me being absolutely speachless for the first time he could remember!

After a busy day at work, Brad and I made the 2.5 hour trek over to the twin cities. We arrived a little early so we would have enough time to take the camera back to the car if they wouldn't let me in with it. I had purchased the camera pretty much for this occassion...I had attempted to meet all of their criteria...no detachable lens, no lens longer than 2", no recording devices. The only rule I broke was the recording device...I didn't know I was going to break it until I had the camera and saw a little movie icon on it then found the little microphone...cool...I hoped they wouldn't pay attention when they let me in. They didn't! That allowed us time to get a t-shirt for me, a beer for Brad, and a big pretzel for us to share. We then took our seats...not only were we on row 14...yes 14...but we had aisle seats. YES! Brad scored incredible seats! One of the girls next to us was a HUGE JBJ fan...she was from Atlanta and had been to the show the night prior.

Promptly at 7:30, Daughtry hit the stage. He was even better than I remember on American Idol. He put on a great 40 minute set. I practiced with my camera on him...realizing that I was getting better shots using the auto mode rather than attempting to use the manual mode on the new little point and shoot Canon we purchased. I really didn't get any great shots of him during his set...too dark, too much movement. I hoped I'd have better luck with Jon! After a 15 minute break for set change, right on schedule, THE MAN, my dreamboat, JBJ hit the stage. From that moment on it was what Brad described as a 2 1/2 hour Bon Jovi juke box. They sounded incredible...and you know Jon looked incredible!!! What an absolutely beautiful man!!! I did what I do...I took photos throughout the entire concert. I went through one set of batteries and a memory card...the batteries were actually HOT! I had to use the LCD screen...it was the only way I could see whether or not I was in focus. I took a ton of photos...in an attempt to get at least 1 decent one. After the concert was over, 24 amazing songs later, I had three different sets of people asking me if I would send them copies of my top 10 photos. How funny!

Here is the set list for the show:

St. Paul, MN - Xcel Energy Center - 3/19/08
LOST HIGHWAY
BORN TO BE MY BABY
BAD NAME
SUMMERTIME
CAPT. CRASH
RADIO
SLEEP
BLOOD MONEY
BLAZE OF GLORY w/ Daughtry
I GOT THE GIRL
WHOLE LOT OF LEAVIN'
DAMNED
WE GOT IT GOIN' ON
IT'S MY LIFE
BAD MEDICINE w/ Shout
I'LL BE THERE FOR YOU - RICHIE VOX
(YOU WANT TO) MAKE A MEMORY
STRANGERS
WHO SAYS YOU CAN'T GO HOME
HAVE A NICE DAY
FAITH
PRAYER
ENCORE:
WANTED
I LOVE THIS TOWN

And now for my top 12...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Anniversary Celebration

To celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, Brad and I spent the weekend up at the incredible 2nd Wind Bed & Breakfast up in Ashland, WI. While "normal" B&Bs are victorian, this one broke the mold and is a Northwoods retreat. A beautiful one at that! They have 2 normal sized suites and one large suite with a loft. The hosts, Kelly & Mark, along with their 5 kids are fantastic. We met three if the kids...Elizabeth (I think she goes by Lizzy), the youngest girl...she's a doll! She showed me her first knitted scarf...she did a great job...then the oldest daughter is Rebecca (Becca)...a very driven, funny, beautiful girl with a huge heart and a knack for making these adorable knitted hats...she just learned 3 weeks ago and she's made nearly 20 of them...she made two the night before we left to come home! Then there is Levi...a very cute, polite, and pretty quiet (from what we saw!) young man...he is an incredible drummer, cross country skier, and friend. Kelly and Mark are fabulous parents and were a great sounding board for Brad and I when it came to talking about teenage boys! This family loves the Lord and it was evident the minute we walked into the house...by the way their house was decorated, the music that was playing in the gathering room, to the way in which we were treated all weekend. They have definitely found their calling...they were great hosts and I hope we touched each others lives enough to call them friends. Did I mention she is a GREAT cook??!!! Here is their web site if you should be up around the Ashland/Bayfield area...trust me...it would be a treat for you to stay with them! http://www.secondwindcountryinn.com/

In addition to the incredible people, we had a great weekend. Saturday, on our way to Bayfield, Brad let me open the little wrapped box that contained my anniversary present. The traditional anniversary gift for 5 years is wood...well, it was a product of wood...it was a piece of paper. On the paper was a familiar logo...eBay...much to my shock and amazement (and squealing pleasure!) it was a bit more than wood/paper...it was the confirmation that he won 2 - row 14 center floor tickets to the Bon Jovi concert in St. Paul. OMG! OMG! OMG! I was going to be within 14 rows of the Jon Bon Jovi!!! I cried...how in the world did I get so lucky to deserve this incredible man? He couldn't have purchased a more wonderful gift for me.

After all the excitement in the car, we arrived in Bayfield and decided to drive across the "ice road" from Bayfield to Madeline Island (one of the Apostle Islands). What an experience...we were driving ON Lake Superior. Hokey smokes! In our new Pathfinder, no less...what the heck were we thinking? It was really cool!!! Brad was nervous, I wouldn't let myself be. We wanted to do it so we could say we did...doubt our little Pathy will navigate that trip again! We drove around the Island and went to the park...beautiful...as we were driving along the lakeshore back to leave the island, at the same time we both saw an animal running across the ice...it was fairly large...we had no binoculars with us so I used my camera with the big lens to see if I could identify the animal...it was a WOLF! That was a first for me! Moments later another one was seen running after the first. They were a long way off...and they were running away from the shoreline...but they were definitely wolves. How incredibly COOL!!!

We then drove up to the Ice Caves on the Lake Superior lakeshore. Here's what their website says about it: "Centuries of wave action, freezing, and thawing have sculpted shorelines throughout Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Some of the Great Lakes' most spectacular scenery occurs where these forces interact with sandstone to create extensive sea caves. Nature has carved delicate arches, vaulted chambers, and honeycombed passageways into cliffs along the mainland near the Lakeshore's western boundary North of Meyers Beach. People come to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in winter to visit the sea caves and witness Lake Superior's ever-changing handiwork." We had to walk about a mile on ice...it was pretty cold...and we weren't dressed to do so. It was also late enough in the day that the sun was setting. We were out there long enough to see how cool they were...and take a few photos (my battery died while out there - I had put what I thought was a new fully charged battery in as we left the car...but apparently it was a fully depleted battery that needed to be charged!). In any case, the caves were cool...we were cold...so we didn't spend much time out there other than walking!!!

We capped off the weekend with an indirect drive home...went to check out the ski resorts up in the area...info for Brad and Robby next season. They had a little more snow than us and the slopes were only going to be open for another couple weeks. Eventually we wound our way back home after an incredible weekend.

What a great anniversary celebration weekend we have...and Oh, did I mention I received tickets to go see Bon Jovi?

Monday, March 3, 2008

03/03/03 + 5

I have been married to my very best friend for 5 years today. In many ways, it seems as if we were married just yesterday...I certainly remember the details like it was yesterday. In many other ways, it feels like we've been married forever. There have been so many changes in our lives since that magical day. Our big move...Robby coming to live with us...the changes in our jobs...the new friends we've met up here...having a house full of pets rather than just two...and the misfortune of losing our dear mom Ray.

Today I'm going to focus on that incredible day back in 2003 when Brad and I exchanged our vows to God and each other on top of one of His most beautiful landscapes in Mendocino, California.
One of the moments I had been waiting for...Brad pledging his love for me and placing those beautiful rings on my left hand...closest to my heart.
Husband and wife...at last...

All of the flowers for my bouquet were in season there...couldn't be more fresh! They were stunning!

We felt the need to take a photo with our sunglasses on since we were in sunny California while there was snow back home in Indianapolis!

It wouldn't have been complete without cutting the cake. This was taken in front of the Heritage House original farmhouse...we stayed in thier Deerfield 8 suite and the beautiful white gazebo overlooking the Pacific was right on the property.

This was on the deck of our suite. Taken with our first digital camera on auto timer! We obviously had full sun so we did our best!

What an amazing day!!! Just the start to an incredible forever together! I love you Brad with all my heart!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Winter isn't ALL bad...

As the thoughts of spring start to enter everyone's thoughts around here, I thought I'd look back at Robby's first winter in the Northwoods. As you will be able to see, I do believe he hasn't just "survived" it...as expected, he has really enjoyed it!!! Here are a few examples of the fun he's had...
He ice fished for the first time...and was happy to be rewarded with a great northern pike...it was love at first sight!
He and Faith are extreme buddies...inside and out! Not sure which one has more fun. Here, Robby has piled a large amount of snow on his lap...which for some reason was an invitation for Faith to dig through it as fast as she could...snow flies everywhere...she was completely manic!
Skating is one of his passions...he was very determined to create his own ice rink on the lake...and he did! As sooon as the ice was thick enough, Brad took the ATV out and plowed the area. The ice underneath was pretty rough...after a couple of interesting attempts to put water on the rink area in an attempt to refreeze it and make it smoother, Mother Nature helped out and provided us with a few warmer days...a fresh layer of water magically appeared and proceeded to refreeze...shy of a couple places, the rink was in great shape! Robby skated no matter what the temperature was! He even bought a hockey stick and a few pucks (which Faith thinks are just funny shaped toys!) to play around with. He is quite a good skater!!!

In a previous post, I showed the result of Robby jumping off his snowmobile and dropping to the snow to create a snow angel. We went again yesterday and he did it again for me...this time with my camera in hand to catch the action.
This is what it looks like when snowmobiling on Long Lake...there are so many tracks on the lake that it looks nearly like a snowmobile highway!

I took a shot like this of Brad the other day...wanted one of Robby too...check out those baby blues!

His other winter passions that I haven't yet gotten on "film" are sledding and his #1 passion, snowboarding. I'm really glad he likes winter up here in the Northwoods as much (or more!) than we do!!!