May 15, 2016

Girls On The Run

 Did y'all catch the weather this morning?  SNOW!  What?
The only excuse I could reason for having snow in the middle of May was that the heavens were surely celebrating the awesomeness of all the sweet girls running the 5K to finish out a great Girls On The Run season.
I mean....snow....mid-May.
 I was so happy to be here doing this exact thing with Ida.
 She has so many great friends and belongs to a wonderful school.

 The Girls On The Run program is so cool.
It is designed to help girls learn to be joyful, healthy and confident. To embrace differences and find strength in connectedness.  I am so pleased Ida has been able to join in. 
 Our camera man did his best.  It's not easy taking pictures of moving people!
And the cheering section was fierce!  
I was so happy Emerson wore his hunting hat.  So bright!!  We saw him at every spectator spot so easily.

 Ida and her buddy, Emma, charging to the finish line.
They did fantastic...only stopping long enough to grab a drink twice, plus two, one-minute walks.

The medals we were given had this wonderful message:
I have the power to believe in myself.
To stand up for who I am.
To say "yes" to a challenge.
To cheer on new friends.
To grow up strong.
Awesome day.

May 5, 2016

Mothers and Daughters

My Grandma called one day and invited me and Ida to a mother-daughter banquet at her church.  I told her yes before I even knew what I would do with the boys.  Obviously, they weren't coming and Josh would be working.  As soon as I hung up the phone with her I called my go-to old man babysitter.
Plans were made and we went.  Ida thought spending the afternoon with Granny and Great Grandma was ridiculously cool.  She mentioned a few times as we were driving home that she is a lot like her grannies.  

This is my mother-daughter group. ♥
Four generations.
Arlene Loretta (Koebbe) Grau, Judith Lynn Grau, Mellissa Anne (Carty) Fraker, Ida Arlene Fraker

April 29, 2016

Emerson's Golden 11th Birthday

Happy Golden Birthday to this guy right here. Eleven years ago, Emerson Alton changed our lives and made Josh and I parents, and life has been wonderful with him ever since. He is named after his Great and Great-Great Grandpas because, from day one, he was strong yet gentle. He is funny, imaginative and cares a whole awful lot; and he teaches me how to notice the needs of those around me. He is braver on a daily basis than I could ever be and the Frakers Five would feel empty without him. Happy 11th Emerson! We love you!
You know your kid is awesome when he reeeeeaaaaaalllllyyyyy doesn't want to take a picture on his birthday first thing in the morning, but does anyway.  Thanks for humoring me, Emerson!
My high school basketball coach, Mr. Paul Terpstra, encouraged me constantly to squeeze hand grips my entire JV career.  I passed the love to Emerson!  As well as teaching him what the word irony means.  That's another Terprsta thing.

Urban got Emerson a pump for his basketball.  Oh, the love.  It was the perfect gift.

Yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  His favorite.

Ida got Emerson a shirt with a T-Rex on it telling a joke.  Those two have shared their T-Rex jokes and laughs for years.  Great memories!
And Josh and I got him a metal detector.  It totally rocks!

Hours of fun and tons of yard holes later........happy kids.:)

April 27, 2016

Mall Of America, Minnesota -- (Spring Break 2016)

We stopped at the Mall Of America in Minnesota on our way home.  The weather in Rapid City was wonderful the entire time we were in South Dakota, and in Minnesota the weather was snowing and rainy.  Luckily, the only activity we planned was to hang out at the Mall for an afternoon, so everything worked out perfectly.
The Lego store, THE LEGO STORE!
Our kids went flippy for the Lego store, Ida, however, being the least excited.
But the entire concept of the store was fun for all ages.
We really enjoyed watching each other build legos, as well as, talking to the staff.  They were always coming out from some back room with something new and fascinating to show the boys.
It was pretty cool.
The Mall actually felt just like a mall, but on steroids.  
We felt the bustle of a mall setting while also feeling like a small amusement park.
The way the rides, stores, and plants are arranged give the park a homey feeling.
You have to go to understand.
Here are some fun facts about the Mall Of America:


  • .57 miles is the walking distance around one level of Mall of America
  • 8 acres of skylights allow about 70% of the natural light to enter the Mall
  • 4 out of 10 visitors to Mall of America are tourists
  • 4.3 miles of total store front footage
  • 7 Yankee Stadiums can fit inside the Mall
  • 27 rides and attractions in Nickelodeon Universe®
  • 32 Boeing 747s could fit inside the Mall
  • 65 semi-trucks were needed to transport trees to the theme park to create the outdoor feel of an indoor park
  • 70 degrees inside Mall of America whether its spring, summer, winter or fall
  • 86 hours is the length of time it would take to complete your visit to the Mall if you were to spend just 10 minutes in each store
  • 100+ pounds of food are fed daily to animals at SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium - plus 90 extra pounds on the days the sharks are fed
  • 258 Statues of Liberty could lie inside the Mall
  • 400+ events are held at Mall of America each year
  • 520+ stores are located in Mall of America
  • 7,000+ weddings have been performed at Mall of America
  • 11,000 year-round employees at Mall of America (13,000 during peak periods)
  • 12,550 on-site parking spaces at Mall of America in two ramps
  • 30,000+ live plants and 400 live trees climbing as high as 35 feet tall in Nickelodeon Universe
  • 32,000+ tons of trash recycled each year
  • 170,000+ Legos have been lost in the LEGO play area
  • 1.2 million-gallon aquarium at SEA LIFE™ Minnesota Aquarium
  • 5.6 million square feet of gross building area
  • 40 million visitors annually which is more than the combined populations of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa...and Canada
  • 130+ million number of rides ridden in the park since opening
  • $650+ million cost to build
  • Nearly $2 billion Mall of America generates in economic activity annual for the state of Minnesota
It was definitely worth stopping by while we were in the area, but we don't have plans to go back.
Spring Break over.

April 26, 2016

Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota -- (Spring Break 2016)

Spearfish Canyon was covered in a patchy blanket of snow the day we decided to hike and explore the trails there.  Josh was certain it didn't matter and that hiking would be fine regardless of the snow.  We all agreed to give it our best shot and trudged along down the trail.
About 1/4 of the way through, we heard laughter and talking across the river.  When we looked over to see what was happening, we saw a perfectly clear, wide trail on the other side.....that people were hiking......that wasn't covered in snow. Well, shoot.  We were definitely on the wrong side of the track, if you will.
No big deal.  This was a solvable situation.
We backtracked to the head of the trail and found our way to the other side of the river.
Hiking from here was a breeze.

I forgot to bring along my tripod on vacation, so my challenge the entire trip was to find areas my camera could balance properly so we could us the timer.  
I think I did a pretty decent job.