Catching Up: May 2012 Highlights

  I am behind again, that is one fact that never seems to change.  Since I don’t scrapbook,  I have tried to record our lives on this blog with tons of pictures.  And once again I am terribly behind.   So bear with me while I try to get caught up once again!!!   Here are some highlights from May 2012.



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Josh and Tommy ran the TC Kids Marathon at Como Park – May 19th


Tommy at MCS field trip to State Capitol – May15th   

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Battle Creek Field Trip – May 31, 2012


May 26th – Blessing Ceremony for the Nuss Family – amazing ceremony, great friends!


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Family Photo Booth Picture from Nuss Family Blessing ceremony.

Tom and Mom dance

Dancing the night away with my son, Tommy.  He loves to dance.


More Highlights from May:

  • School Field Trips – Pirates Exhibit at the MN Science Museum,  Patrol Picnic, Tour of MN Capitol, Battle Creek field trip to collect water samples. 
  • School Events – Culminating Event and working at Culver’s for School fundraiser.
  • Soccer – played in the Soccer Round Robin in Chisago City on C2 Team 
  • Financial Peace University – presented on the panel and have decreased our debt by $ 30, 447.34. 
  • Josh’s 24th Birthday – went to Manitou Station for drinks and appetizers.  Funny moment – Tommy being stealth to get a candle. Mom freaking out thinking it was a real candle and he would get burned. 
  • Bonnie’s 50th Birthday
  • Lots of fun and dancing at Nuss Family Reception, ending up in cracked ribs for me! 
  • Wedding Planning starting for Josh and Amy’s Wedding – met with the caterer, K & J Catering to decide on menu.


Wishing you all a wonderful day!

Be Blessed,


Finding Blessings in Cheerios and Shin Guards??

  I smile as I pick up the shin guards and soccer uniform in the middle of the living room.  My little man sprawled out on the couch watching some cheesy Disney movie.   I can’t help but smile to myself as I pick up his things and think to myself……someday, I will miss doing this so much.   I hope today you take the time to see the blessing in the little things in your life.   I remember when my oldest was little and I would feel frustrated with the never ending job of picking up things he left strewn around the house.  Now, I fondly smile as once in a while he stops by our house and blesses us with his “Josh droppings”.   Just today he stopped by after work to drop off some lawn chairs he borrowed.  Where do you think he left the chairs????  On the couch in the living room, of course!   I pick them up with a smile and take them to the garage….always my same Josh!  Man, I love that boy. 

So today I remind myself as I put away my youngest things, clothes and make his bed to do so with joy in my heart.   Someday my children will be doing these same things for their children, hopefully with the same joy in their hearts. 

It is an amazing gift from God to be entrusted with these small souls that soon grow from babies to young men.   I am reminded of the shortness of our time with our little ones as my oldest’s wedding approaches and my friends are experiencing their children graduating and leaving for college.   It is all so bittersweet and amazing in a new way. 

Baby to Young Boy


Baby Tommy


To young boy, Tommy the amazing soccer player and kind soul.

Young Boy to Man


Baby Tommy with big brother, Josh – so loving and caring. 


To Man……soon to be husband   Amazing man of God and loving son. 

My heart overflows with love and gratitude for the blessings in my life.   My advice to my friends with little ones….smile as you dig the cheerios out of your van seat and find crayons that made it though the dryer.   These are the days you too will be nostalgic for before you know it.  

Be Blessed,
Jen C

“Motherhood is a privilege, and our children our crowning glory.” 1 Timothy 2:15


Weekend Get Away ….June 22nd, 2012

         Hubby (AKA cute boy) and I went away for the evening to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary.  I know it is a month late, but late is better than never!   He had won the getaway at the live auction/fundraiser for Tommy’s school, Magnuson Christian School.  

We both took Friday off from work.  We stayed around until Tommy was done with Vacation Bible School then we handed Tommy off with Amy/Josh and off we went.  A young couple on an adventure.  It always seems to take alot of planning for us to be away.  We have to make sure Tommy, Grandpa and rest of those living with us are all situated in our absense.  But we sure savor our moments away.   It is always very relaxing!

We started out heading towards, Hastings, MN.   I wanted to stop at Schaar’s Bluff in Dakota County.  I have been there before for work meetings but never had time to explore.  The view of the river was spectacular.  I had the bright idea to do a little geo caching while we were there.  Bearing in mind that we are on a bluff 150 feet above the Mississippi river, the first thing that should have made me think twice was that the cache was named “Leap of Faith”.   Yikes!!   Hubby and I got within 23 feet of the cache before simultaneously deciding that no cache was worth getting that close to the sheer cliff drop-off to the Mississippi River.  We will leave that one for someone else!


The view from Schaar’s Bluff – at Spring Lake Park Reserve 


My favorite flowers – Daisies! 



More Wild Flowers (and one very uncooperative Monarch butterfly) at Schaar’s Bluff – Hastings MN


On to Red Wing, Mn.   We made it there just in time to check in at the Candlelight Inn in Red Wing MN.   The Inn is located near downtown so we were able to park the van for the evening and enjoy strolling around the neighborhood and to the historic St James Hotel for dinner. 


The Heritage Room – Candlelight Inn, Red Wing

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Jen finding time to relax and read a bit.

Supper: The Port – St James Hotel


Remind me to read the details of the menu a bit closer. I wish we would have taken pictures of my food, but it didn’t seem appropriate.

The Port Caesar – was interesting…Baby Red and Green Romaine Lettuce, Roasted Garlic Caesar Dressing, Crispy Braised Pork Belly, Soft Poached Egg, Parmesan Reggiano.  The poached egg was a bit of asurprise to me.  Hubby decided not to share my salad for some reason. 

Jen’s Meal – Seared Sea Scallops – White Beans, Ham Hock, Pea Puree, Pea Tendrils

Paul’s MealGrilled Dry Aged Kansas City Strip Steak – Rösti Potato, Sherry-Dressed Sunflower Sprouts, Roasted Wild Mushrooms,Caramelized Shallot-Cabernet Reduction.

I wish I could say we were more impressed with our dinner than we were, but perhaps our uneducated palettes failed us.  The waitress asked if we’d like some coffee when we first sat down, but we both responded that we really didn’t like coffee and water would be just fine for the both of us for now. The scallops seemed to have crunchy bits (aka, sand ) in them and the steak was not exactly prepared to hubby’s liking, (as he’d simply ordered it “medium” but instead got a steak ranging from well-done on one edge all the way to practically rare at the other edge.) For dessert, we wanted to share my absolute favorite, Creme Brulee! When she brought it, (see initial coffee response above), we found that the entire brulee had been covered with a generous 2-inch thick dollop of some sort of whipped coffee. (Scrape, scrape, scrape…then eat)  But at least we had our $80-dollar gift certificate to assist with the cost of the meal, so we were only out an additional $25 for the most expensive dinner we ever bought but didn’t exactly love!

We spent the rest of the evening wandering around historic Red Wing taking in the charm and architecture of the area.  Of course I took pictures….


The front of the Red Wing YMCA established in 1808.


I think this picture will need to find it’s way to my Reading In WBL blog.

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Charming Details around downtown Red Wing.

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Near Levee Park….


We didn’t go see the largest boot in the world, but this shoe planter was cute.  Red Wing is the home of Red Wing shoes. 
Walking Tour – there are 3 walking tours of Red Wing to learn about the different architecture.  On the historical residential home tour, I fell in love the TB Sheldon House, constructed in 1875.  It just happened to be for sale as well!   WOW!   I don’t think hubby wanted to buy it for me.  But it did have 4 apartments in it in addition to the owner’s living quarters.   Steve and Grandpa could have their own places!  
T. B. Sheldon House -so grand… 
Love the details – French Second Empire Style
 While walking around we played, guess how much this one costs for all the houses for sale.  This lovely historic home, with a total of 5,881 square feet was for sale for $600,000.   We were surprised as we’d guessed higher for the cost. 
In addition to old houses, I love old churches with ornate details.  Here are some of my favorites from Red Wing.
The stone work on this church was loevly.
I forgot to get a better picture of this one.  The wooden door on this church was great!
By far my favorite church in Red Wing was First Lutheran.  The steeple is breathe taking. 
This picture does not do this window justice, the  stained glass and other details are beautiful.
My favorite detail of First Lutheran Church??  The blue door – the color ties in the stained glass above the door brillantly.


Cute Boy I found down by the river……..I wonder what he is thinking about.

Breakfast:  Early on Saturday morning we heard a music box playing in the hallway outside our room.  This was the signal that fresh muffins and coffee were delivered outside the guest’s room.   The muffins were fresht out of the oven and delivered in a little basket.  (nice touch, though we may have made a comment about the music box being creepy )


Breakfast was served at 9:00 around a lovely set table in the dining room. 


All 5 couples staying at the inn shared a 3 course gourmet breakfast around the table.   And of course my hubby, found out one of the guests was a professor at Century College where my hubby works.  It is funny how that works…can’t take the man anywhere without someone knowing him    After the initial introductions of the guests, the conversation flowed nicely.  It was a very enjoyable breakfast.

Three courses of breakfast:

1.  Cold Sherbet Fruit Soup

2.  Ham and French Toast

3.  Dessert – Pots de Creme au Chocolat – served in the cutest pots de creme cups with handles and covers.  My favorite!!  I could get used to dessert at breakfast

561651-2T Pots de creme Dessert Cups with mini spoons….very cool!

After checking out we headed to Memorial Park to enjoy the view before heading home to WBL!


View from Memorial Park


View of Barn Bluff – I whimped out and didn’t want to climb to Barn Bluff.



View from Memorial Park of the town of Red Wing.


Tommy had a great time staying with Josh and Amy while we were gone for the evening.  It was hard to get him to come home!


Video games and ice cream!!  No wonder Tommy didn’t want to come home.


My Silly Boys….they make me laugh and are such a joy to me. 

I know I had said I won’t blog out of order, but I wanted to post about this weekend while it was still fresh in our minds.  I will go back and post highlights of the past few months as well.  It felt so good to blog about our time away and happy feelings.   Through everything we continue to feel very  blessed – life is good!

Blessings to you!

Jen C


Update: A return to blogging….

Hello – remember me??? I used to be that lady who blogged about her life almost daily. Last night I was looking at old blog posts about my little guy as a baby . He was looking at the posts with me and really was having fun hearing about his time as a baby. I loved reading old posts about his baby years. That is what this blog is to my family, a virtual scrapbook of the ups and downs of our lives.  I have come to terms with the notion that I will never be a scrap booker. Therefore, I blog and the thoughts and memories of my years raising our children will never be lost and I can revisit them whenever I want.

As you may have notice, besides posting my menu every two weeks, I have not been blogging regularly. Why you ask?? Life just got too difficult – too much going on in our lives. I am starting to feel like I am finally starting to get a handle on things.

The holiday season was very difficult for my family and filled with loss. My Father in Law(FIL) came to live with us in September, which has been very good. I just adore him.

My mother in Law (MIL) was residing in memory care. We were last able to bring her home for Thanksgiving. Christmas was bittersweet to say the least. We were unable to bring her home due to some skin break down that made it painful for her to be in her wheelchair. This was very hard on everyone. We all went to the memory care unit and celebrated Christmas with her the best we could. It was still difficult for my MIL.

Shortly after the New Year we started hospice services and my MIL passed away on January 10th.  The staff notified us when she started to deteriorate and we all rushed to spend the last hours with her.  I arrived first and sat with her, stroking her hair and chatting to her. The chaplain and I were with her when she passed away. I am glad I was able to be with her, but am always wondering if I could have done more. It was a difficult time for our family and we are all starting to adjust to the new normal.

My Father in Law is doing well, but I worried about him alot through this all. But in some ways he held it together the best due to his amazing faith. He is a remarkable man.

In Loving Memory of Jane Coyan :


Jane – 40th Wedding Anniversary

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Dick and Jane – 50th Wedding Anniversary

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Dick, Jane and their children – 52nd Anniversary


Our Family – January 14th, 2012

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The Coyan kids and their Dad!    

Other Happenings:

Our oldest son, Josh bought a townhome and moved out of our home on Christmas Day. It made for a weird Christmas. I did much better emotionally with his moving out this time, but I still miss him very much.

On December 29, I was seen by the Urologist due to some bladder issues I was having. He scheduled a bladder surgery for February 15th. The recovery was more difficult than I anticipated. I took 8 days off of work, but did work some from home.  I really wasn’t able to do much else.  I should havetaken more time off following surgery, but took time off following my MIL’s passing and didn’t have enough time on the books. So between the passing of my dear mother in law, Jane, Josh moving out and my surgery – life has felt a bit overwhelming.  But luckily, we have a wonderfully supportive and loving family and together we make it!

Pictures from November 2011 – February 2012:


Tommy’s Angel Costume for School Christmas Program

mom and Tom

 Christmas – 2011


Josh, Amy and Tommy the first time stepping into their new house.


The Happy New Homeowners!


Happy New Year – Welcome in 2012 with family.

I hope to blog more in the very near future about what our family has been up to so far this year.  This post was a bit of a blogging block for me as it made me so sad to write, but yet I didn’t want to skip over this time in our lives either.  It was a real time of loss and I can really feel as I write this blog.  But, life is good and we are so blessed by our wonderful family.  The ups and downs are both parts of this wonderful life and worth documention!  I am sure Tommy will remember his Grandma, her kindness, her love of M&Ms and her willingness to share with him.    Tommy was amazing with his Grandma right to the very last moments of her life.  That is what I will never forget, the patience and love of my son, Thomas George for his grandma. 

I hope to get some more posts up summarizing the past few months…..I am back and I am a blogger again!  Wonder if I have any readers left!  

Blessings to you,

Jen C