3 Years at Fair

Lauren made it to the MN State Fair for her third year and it wouldn’t have been complete without a picture of her in cheese on a stick cut-out! We spent almost a whole day there, longer than we anticipated, because the day was so nice and Lauren was having such a good time. Besides introducing her to cheese curds this year, she also chowed down on corn-on-the-cob (one of her faves this summer), a caramel roll, Sweet Martha’s cookies (mostly just picking out the chocolate chips), a Pronto Pup, and a strawberry malt. I was amazed that none of it came back up when Josh took her on the Tilt-a-Whirl, although they both looked a little queasy when they got off the ride! Lauren didn’t have much fear when it came to the Kidway rides, but a couple of them made me a little nervous. She also really liked the birthing barn and had fun petting a baby chick and baby duck.

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  • Mary says:

    Lauren, love the pictures of you at your third State Fair . . . how those years have flown by! You're going to love those scary rides like your mom does, aren't you! You and Grandpa Nick will have to eat some corn-on-the-cob together . . . he can show you how to really make those kernels fly! Can't wait to see you soon! Love and kisses from Grandma Mary



I don’t think we know exactly why, but last week we decided to transition Lauren to what we tell her is a “Big Girl Bed”. Maybe it was the traveling we’ve done this summer and the realization that Lauren is quickly out growing the pack-n-play crib. More likely though it was that strange desire to knock off another milestone in Lauren’s development so we can feel like we know what we’re doing. Similar to that desire to see her crawling or walking; followed by the realization of how much more supervision each milestone requires. So of course I envisioned weeks of putting Lauren to bed only to have her climb out telling us she isn’t ready to go to sleep. The first night we put her down and sure enough an hour later not a peep. Three more nights and still nothing. Maybe it’s the fact we really didn’t change beds, but simply removed a side of her crib and replaced it with a small guard rail to keep her from falling out. Either way I’m sure the fact that I’m typing this out and publishing it, means I’ll be awakened in the middle of the night for the rest of this week by two little eyes whispering the words “I wake up!”

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  • Nana Jo says:

    Lauren — You look so proud of your big bed! And such a big girl to STAY in the big bed. It was great to see you last weekend at the lake. Hopefully Lauren's bug bites didn't swell up after you all left! Her little body definitely doesn't like our Minnesota bugs. Love you all, Nana

This is what happens when you take a leisurely walk around the block and fail to realize that your daughter is keeping up remarkably well because she’s being carried by a mosquito attached to the side of her head. The photos are from the following day when Lauren got the brunt of the swelling. Daycare called and asked if we wanted to pickup Lauren after she woke up from her afternoon nap and couldn’t open her eye due to the swelling. Luckily a little benadryl did the trick and even started working before I had a chance to grab the camera. As you can see in the second picture, we figured that if she isn’t able to fulfill her dream of becoming a princess in a Disney movie there’s always the chance of a career in Ultimate Fighting.


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  • Grandma Mary says:

    Lauren, what a bad bite! Glad you don’t have any of those West Nile skeeters in MN! Your new bed looks fun . . . now Grandma won’t have to lift you over that big rail when she tucks you in. Can’t wait to see your sweet face! (and your mommy and daddy, too!) Love you, Grandma Mary

IMG_0463Thanks to Bumpa Hall, I had the chance to sneak out to Hazeltine on Monday morning and watch the first practice round of the PGA Championship. After spending an extra 15 minutes on the shuttle to the course thanks to a driver that didn’t know how to get there, I was immediately surprised to see that Tiger had already teed off at 6:45AM. He’d just won the previous tournament in Ohio and probably arrived late Sunday night after a grueling ride on his own private jet so I really wasn’t even expecting him to be practicing at all on Monday. I was able to catch up with him on the 8th hole and followed him through the end of his practice round. I didn’t think it would be that amazing to see him in person, but I have to admit it was a little surreal to see him hit some shots up close and think, “Wow that’s actually Tiger Woods. Right There!” I think everyone had the same impression as the amount of people following him grew hole-by-hole until it was almost impossible to move around after the 17th hole. There weren’t a lot of other big names on the course after that so I spent some time walking the course and checking out the driving range. I was impressed by how well the whole event was set up, but the amount of people clogging up the practice areas, for the sole purpose of seeking an autograph had me ready to head out early. I decided since I still had some unused tickets I’d pick up Lauren and meet Steph back out there in the evening after things calmed down. It was pretty quiet by 5pm which was okay considering we weren’t sure how long Lauren would last and if we could keep her entertained enough to stay quiet. After grabbing a bite to eat we caught up with Padraig Harrington on the back 9 and followed him for a few holes. Having watched Tiger in the morning it was nice to see Padraig trying to make PGA Tour players look somewhat human, knocking a ball off the TV scaffolding Happy Gilmore style and then finding lake Hazeltine with his tee shot on the 16th. He must have thought he was still on the clock after Sundays collapse.  We got Lauren to say “Go Paddy” after he’d hit his shot which was pretty entertaining. Although she really started to get into it by the 16th hole and we were starting to wonder if she was now actually saying “Go Potty” so we decided it might be best to keep moving along. I had a great time taking pictures and I’m looking forward to heading back out on Thursday to see what the players can do once the pressure is on.

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  • Grandma Mary says:

    Josh, what amazing pictures . . . has Sports Illustrated contacted you yet?! Nick can’t wait to get there! Miss Lauren looked like she enjoyed it, too . . . you’ll have to get her working on her game! Love, Grandma Mary


Our summer travels continue and the last few weekends have included one trip back up to Grafton and two trips to the lake. The trip home again was for my cousin Mark’s wedding- he and Andrea had a beautiful outdoor reception at the Park River Bible Camp. Lauren’s favorite part of the reception was the candy table; Josh thought it would be easier to fill her pockets with candy to keep her away from the colorful jars, but that just made her want to refill them again and again!

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Unfortunately it hasn’t been the best lake weather lately- both weekends we were at the cabin were mostly overcast and cool. We enjoyed time with the Arizona Kecks and introduced Austin to Mooseluck and Sequence. Josh also threw him off the tube a couple of times but he didn’t seem to mind too much!

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Last weekend we had our friends, the Gustafsons and Rupps, up to the cabin and although the weather didn’t quite cooperate, we had a lot of fun getting together with all of our kids. Six kids ages 4 and under… they were definitely the entertainment! Fishing off the dock was exciting for the kids- they were able to catch several small sunnies and rock bass. Josh even got Lauren to touch the fish but she wasn’t so sure when he told her to kiss one.

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Thank you for the continued prayers for Erin, Joe and Annie. Joe and Erin have started a CaringBridge site to update everyone on her recovery progress. Erin’s therapy is going well and she’s working incredibly hard on her recovery. I know we are going to be amazed by her progress the next time we see her!

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  • Nana Jo says:

    You have had a busy, fun summer! Love all the pictures from the family gatherings.

    It was great to see the pictures from your weekend at the lake! The kids have all grown up so since I saw them last at Lauren’s 1st birthday. Looks like you had a wonderful time even without the nice warm temperatures. Glad the fish were accommodating allowing for some great pics and fish stories. Lauren, you must have lured those fish in with your Dora fish bait:) Love, Nana Jo


We spent the 4th of July in Park River, ND, and had a great day with the Halls. My cousin Bjorn, his wife Sveta and their daughter, Bianca, made the trip from the east coast and we got to celebrate Bianca’s 2nd birthday with her! Lauren loved being one of the gang- my cousins’ kids kept her entertained and she was in love with baby Liam. All she wanted to do was hold him, kiss him, and rock him- what a little mother.

Jeff was able to come home for the week, too, and Jonny arrived a few days later. Josh and I headed back home with one less passenger in the car- Lauren stayed back in Grafton with Grandma, Grandpa and her uncles while Josh and I worked and enjoyed a few nights out in the Cities. All I can say is that when we met up with them the following weekend, Grandma was pretty worn out and Lauren didn’t want to take naps anymore! They had a great time together and it was good for them to experience her personality and get to know her better without us there.

We also had a fun gathering with the Fedje’s this past weekend in Detroit Lakes. The annual golf scramble was fun as always and we had the perfect weather to enjoy time at the lake together.

Erin’s condition is slowly improving and she has moved to a rehab facility to start the therapy needed for her to regain her strength and mobility. Her strong faith and sense of humor through this whole ordeal just amazes me- we continue to pray for a full recovery and her return home to Joe and Anne.

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We celebrated Annie’s first birthday a couple weeks ago and had a great time in Fargo with family. It is so fun to watch Lauren and Anne together- they entertained us all with the Busy Ball Popper (which I would highly recommend for a child’s birthday present) and enjoyed playing with Anne’s new Dora kitchen. Annie is such a sweetie and it’s so fun to see her grow into a little person!

We would appreciate your prayers for Erin as she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome last week and is currently in the hospital where they are monitoring her condition. Erin will make a full recovery, but please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they get through this difficult time.

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  • Amy J says:

    The girls are so adorable!!! My thoughts and prayers are with Joe and Erin…for patience and a speedy recovery.


Lauren had a fun birthday weekend at the lake!  Grandma Mary and Bumpa Nick joined us at Keck’s cabin with Opa Rob, Nana Jo, Auntie EJ and Annie. Josh and I had been preparing her all week for the activities of the weekend and it wasn’t long before she was rattling off her guests, her birthday dinner- pizza with roni (pepperoni), and what she wanted on her cake- Dora. She could tell us that she was turning 2, but couldn’t quite figure out how many fingers to hold up.

Lauren loved her Dora party and smiled all the way through Happy Birthday. She definitely knew the spotlight was on her and enjoyed every minute.

It’s hard to believe how fast these two years have gone by. Every day, Lauren gets a little bigger and smarter; she says or does something new and we know what a blessing it is to experience life with her!

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  • Amy J says:

    She is so cute…and such a big girl!!!! Looks like she enjoyed turning 2…let’s hope she also enjoys BEING 2!! Love you guys…-Amy J.


We spent Memorial weekend at the lake and what a fun weekend it was!  The weather was great and we all enjoyed spending time outside in the sun.  Lauren and Anne loved playing with the water table on the deck; it was a little too cold to take a dip in the lake so the water table was the next best thing.  Opa and Nana gave both the girls their very own fishing rod but unfortunately the fish weren’t biting yet.  Opa let Lauren and Anne “drive” the pontoon and they liked the cruise around the lake.  Lauren even got her first taste of a campfire smore!  We’re looking forward to quite a few weekends at the lake this summer- we’re happy that Lauren seems to love being there as much as we do!


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  • Grandma Mary says:

    What fun at the lake with cousin Annie! Your mom had so much fun with her cousins, too, Lauren. You and Annie will have great times together, especially at the lake! Can’t wait to see all of you there this weekend! Love and kisses from Grandma Mary


May has been a kind of a slow month for us- we’re just enjoying the nice weather, going out on our rollerblades, getting the yard cleaned up… basically just relaxing before the craziness of summer begins!  We’ve also spent an afternoon at Canterbury, visited the zoo, and spent a weekend in St. Cloud where Lauren had a fun time playing with cousin Annie.

It’s hard to believe that Lauren will be 2 in just a month!  She loves to sing and, with a little help, can get through the ABCs and counting to 10 (we hear the number 5 a few extra times).  We’re a little slower with colors- everything is “blue” or “orange” right now.  She plays hard at daycare and comes home with sand everywhere which has moved bath night to almost every night.  And just like her mom and Bumpa, Lauren loves her chocolate!

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  • Erin says:

    Ha! Looks like Lauren knows the best part of the cookie :) We’re excited to see you all this weekend!


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and then it got nice out…

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  • Grandma Mary says:

    Lauren, such cute pictures of you! Love your water boots and new trike! Won't take you long to figure out those pedals, will it! Have fun! Love, Grandma Mary


I had a surprise visit from my family a couple of weeks ago- it was a total shock to come home from work and find them all there waiting!  I was pretty emotional at first, but after they assured me that it was just a fun surprise, I was able to relax and calm down a bit.  Jeff and Jonny wanted to take in a Wild game so we went to a Friday night game all decked out in our Wild garb.  We had great seats and it was an exciting game to see!

We also went to the Mall of America to visit the American Girl store and Nickelodeon Universe.  Lauren had lots of fun playing with the babies at the doll store and going on rides with her uncles.

It was such a great weekend together although it went too fast as always.  Since we don’t see Jeff and Jonny very often, we cherish every minute that we’re with them and appreciate their effort to come home and see us!

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  • Grandma Mary says:

    It was just the BEST, wasn’t it?! Lauren. you had your uncles wrapped around your little finger . . . must have been that smile of yours that melts everyone’s hearts!
    We treasured every minute of our time with all of you . . . thanks, Josh, for your help in pulling off the surprise! Love, Grandma Mary