Simply the Simmonds Life

family, life and love on the lake

Highlight Reel July 25th-31st, 2009 July 26, 2009

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 10:05 pm

Saturday- Picked Dad up at 9am to bring him to town to get his prescription filled and go to the bank.  After we ran these few errands we went to St Cloud and spent the day with Mom.  We got back in time for Saturday evening mass.  When mass was over I came home and make some pork cutlets and mashed potatoes and gravy and brought some over for Dad then I mowed the lawn.  I finished right as it was getting too dark to see any more.  I don’t know why they bother with those little headlights on riding lawn mowers.  They are never bright enough to see anything with.

Sunday- Rose early to make a big breakfast and finish getting Zach packed to head to scout camp.  We drove him to Camp Cuyuna, they got checked in, took their swimmers tests and headed to the Apache campsite to set up their tents and the camp kitchen.  Then we headed back to Brainerd to go to the wake of one of our scout volunteers and former leader Don Howitz who had passed away from cancer.  I was very proud of the boys as they respectfully walked in to the funeral home in full unifroms.  Don’s daughter was so impressed that she lined them all up in front of Don’s urn and took a photo of them for her mother who was so appreciative that they had left camp to come to the wake.  When Jeff and I left the funeral home we grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed home.  I went over to Dad’s house and started mowing his lawn since he is unable to do it because of the fracture in his back.  After almost 3 hours of mowing I’m still only about halfway done, but it was starting to get dark.  Hopefully I can finish up sometime mid week.

Monday- work today was stressful trying to get caught up still from last week.  Used my lunch hour to go to a funeral.  After work I went to pick up Dad to head to St Cloud to see Mom and found out they were getting ready to transfer her here by Medi-Van.  Dad treated me to supper and we went to Bethany to see her and get her all settled in.  Got home and picked up the house (notice I said picked up and not cleaned) in preparation for overnight guest tonight.

Tuesday-  We were supposed to have a big visit today at work by our divisional and some regionals.  They did make it to the store but when I left at about 5:30 today they hadn’t made it to my department yet.  I drove over to visit Mom after work and was only there about 15 minutes and Dad came.  A half hour later Papa, Nana & Bonnie stopped by.  Her room is kind of small and there’s only 2 chairs in it so I was sitting on the floor.  I didn’t stay much longer.  She had plenty of company and I hadn’t had supper with my husband in about a week and a half.

Wednesday-  It was Jeff’s day off so he headed to Boy Scout Camp to spend the day with Zach.  Zach is taking the Fishing Merit Badge and he needs to catch 3 different species of fish so Jeff stayed late to fish with him.  I went to visit Mom on my lunch break and after work.  She’s making such progress!  Dad took her out to the flower gardens in her wheelchair so she could get some fresh air.  When I left Bethany Good Samaritan I went to Dad’s and mowed his ditch and wanted to finish the rest but Dad was out of gas.  So, I raked up the grass clippings and dumped wheelbarrow loads into the compost pile and then I hauled water to all his flowers because they were pretty droopy.

Thursday- I helped catch a shoplifter at work today.  That was pretty exciting!  Went to visit mom on my lunch break and after work.  She wasn’t feeling too good when I visited her the second time.  The physical therapist was a little rough with her and after she was done mom’s incision had started to bleed and her fractured knee swelled up.  The pain medication just wasn’t cutting it today so Dad and I left early to let her rest.

Friday- got up early and made a couple of pans of bars for my boys at camp, put supper in one crockpot for my dad and delivered it to his house and filled another crockpot for Jeff, went up to visit Mom, caught up with Jeff to cash his check and headed for Camp Cuyuna to spend the night with Zach. (check out Camp Cuyuna post for full story on that.)


In a Blink

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 9:34 pm

It’s crazy how life can change in a blink of the eye.  Don’t believe it can change that fast?  Ask my parents.  Last Sunday just that quickly it happened to them.  My parents were in an accident.  My dad glanced at something quickly and he felt himself veer towards the ditch.  When he tried to right the wheel it was too late.  The soft sand at the side of the road pulled him in.  They jumped several road approaches before he was able to being the truck to a stop.  The brakes don’t work real well when you are airborn.

Both suffered injuries.  Dad has a compressed fracture of one of his vertebra and a bruised elbow and sore neck.  Mom wasn’t quite so lucky.  My mom crushed several vertebra and fractured her “good” knee (the other one she had replaced last year).  She was transferred by ambulance to St Cloud Hospital Neurosurgery and Spine Care Unit.

When dad called from the hospital and told me they had been in an accident and were transferring mom to St Cloud I told him I would be right there, hung up the phone and left.  I never even thought to ask him what was wrong with her or how bad off she was.  It was a terrifying drive in to the hospital when your brain is thinking the worst.  I prayed all the way there and said the fastest rosary I think I’ve ever said.

The front desk at the hospital gave me my parents’ room numbers and when I got to Mom’s room I was so relieved to see her conscious and able to talk.  She was in a lot of pain, but she was alive.  Dad had left his room to be with mom.  When the EMT’s arrived to transfer her we left for St Cloud.  She beat us there by only a few minutes and thus we began the waiting game.  After waiting in the emergency room at St Josephs for about 3 hours, Dad and I waited in the emergency room in St Cloud for another 3 before they got mom in a room.

On the way home I spent half the ride just getting a hold of everybody that needed to know- my brother, my grandparents, my kids and my Dad’s sisters.  By the time we got home Dad was in a lot of pain from the car ride and all the sitting at the hospital.  Neither one of us slept very well that first night.

I took the next couple of days off to spend all day at the hospital with her.  Wednesday she had surgery and that went a lot better then we thought.  The doctor had initially painted such a grim picture that we were really scared.  But things are going better now.  Mom is in a lot of pain (and she will be for a while) but her outlook is great.  The nurses love her because she’s a great patient that hardly ever complains and she loves them because they’ve been so good to her.  In fact, when one went down to the cafeteria to buy Mom a diet Dr Pepper she immediately became mom’s favorite and an angel in her eyes.  I’m probably going to be replaced as a daughter!

Thank you everyone for all your hugs, cards, phone calls, thoughts and prayers for Mom and our family.  They have meant so much to us and been a source of strength.  Mom is on the road to recovery, and while the road is long it is a lot better then no road at all.  I’m so thankful that I have them both with me.


Highlight Reel July 18th-24th, 2009 July 24, 2009

Filed under: Highlight Reel — Angie S. @ 9:45 pm

Saturday-  Zach and I went to town and spent some time roaming around downtown and checking out the crazy days sales and looking at the newly remodeled downtown area.  We picked up a pizza and a couple of movies and had a relaxing evening at home.

Sunday- started out beautiful and quickly changed.  Jeff, Zach and I headed to the beach in the morning and spent a few hours soaking up the rays and Zach did some swimming in the frigid water.  I waded in to my knees and then my body refused to go farther.  When we got home in the early afternoon I got a call from my dad that my parents had been in a car accident and they were transferring my mother to the St Cloud hospital.  Indescribable terror!  I picked my dad up at the Brainerd hospital and we headed to St Cloud.

Monday-  Spent a long day in the hospital waiting for neurosurgeons and orthopedic specialists to figure out what they were going to do.  There is such a helplessness that comes from waiting and not knowing what’s going on.  Their pain becomes your pain and there’s not a thing you can do.

Tuesday-  Mom is receiving such excellent care at the hospital.  It takes a really patient, caring person to be a nurse and she’s had some wonderful ones.  Surgery for her will be either Wednesday or Thursday.

Wednesday- Surgery today for mom.  Went better then expected.

Thursday-mom doing well.  In a lot of pain, but now starting on the road to recovery.  Janeen came over and snuck into my house and did my dishes and cleaned up a little for me as well as brought a cake for us.   She then followed us down to see mom.

Friday- After getting  up early to get supper in the crock pot for my family and dad I went to work today for a full day for the first time all week.  We have a big divisional meeting next Tuesday so everyone’s panicked getting ready for that.  After work I drove home, picked up Zach and we headed for St Cloud to visit mom.  They had her up sitting in a chair for a little bit today.  That completely wears her out.


Annual Bookie Queen Coronation July 18, 2009

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 1:10 pm

Last Tuesday I got dressed in my beaded gown, put on my tiara, grabbed my beribboned sceptor and headed out the door.  No, I wasn’t going to a really early Halloween party.  I was on my way to the annual Bookie Queen Coronation  to give up the crown I had proudly worn for the last year.  A couple of years ago we decided to nominate a Queen of the Bookies.  This idea came from a book from Cassandra King titled Same Sweet Girls.  So now once a year at our July picnic we all dress up in our best formal gowns (or our only formal gown since I don’t know many people who have a closetful of them) and head to the park.

This year however, nature did not cooperate with us.  There was flash flood warnings out and projections of 70 mph straight line winds so Sheila graciously opened up her home to us so we could move the event indoors.  Everybody brings a potluck dish and we grilled and had a wonderful meal.  Then the fun started…

Each Bookie stands up and reads a prepared speech, sings a song, recites a poem or whatever they want to do to convince us they want to be Queen of the Bookies.  The imagination of some of these ladies!  We hooted and howled with laughter as each person took their turn.  After casting our ballots- a winner and two runners up were picked.  Sheila is our new Queen and Amy and Kaydi are the Queen’s court.  After I placed the tiara on Sheila’s head she took her seat on the royal throne (a toilet seat painted gold- I’m not making this up!) and the cameras started snapping.

 Everybody is such a great sport to dress up and make fools out of themselves.  It’s a great event and has been a fun addition to our book club.



Boy Scout Backyard Campout July 13, 2009

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 12:07 pm

This weekend we threw together a quick patrol activity and decided to have a backyard campout.  I had heard the weather was going to be perfect and we had some new tents we wanted to set up and try out so I made a call to the boys of the Mighty Eagle Patrol and we got it scheduled.

Saturday they all congregated at my house after we got back from 5pm mass.  I had all the fixings for a wienie roast and smores as well as Pizza Supreme Hotdish, chips, and Cookies and Cream Fluff (click on favorite recipes tab at top of page to view).  After supper (man, growing boys can eat!) we set up the tents.  One of the tents was very different from anything we had set up before and the instructions hadn’t come with it so we were stymied for a while.  But once we got it up it worked really well. 

The boys had all brought their bikes so we could go for a bike ride later and they spent some time jumping them on one of my son’s ramps.  We played some holey board, some rummy and just sat around the fire and talked and listened to music until about 1am.  We live in a quiet neighborhood so I was afraid the VERY loud music might disturb some of them so we did turn it down at midnight!

When we finally turned in for the night Zach and I were the last ones to make it to our tents.  After laying and listening to the sounds of the night for a while, trying to relax enough to get to sleep- I heard something big moving through the woods right behind us.  I thought for sure it was the bear and I was going to die a rather slow and painful death when it reached in with one of it’s big paws and dragged me through the boot closet of the tent.  But the more I stayed still and listened I could tell it was not walking low to the ground so I figure it was probably a deer.  Of course when you’re sleeping in a tent any little rustle in the woods sounds like a big animal so for all I know it was a furry little Chip ‘n” Dale chipmunk.

The next morning I cooked a big pan of scrambled eggs.  I made some toast, cut up some orange wedges, put out some cereal and some Little Smokies for them to roast with their wiener forks.  We watched with trepidation as some dark clouds moved in threatening to end our campout early but after dropping about a dozen raindrops they moved on.

We hopped on our bikes before the clouds changed their mind and came back for us and we started around the lake.  Three fourths of the way around we stopped at Don & Mayva’s Crow Wing Lake Camp for a slushie.  When I was a teenager I used to ride my bike to the campground just about every day during the summer and play Pac-Man or Super Mario and ogle all the teenage boys with their summer tans.  After drinking my slushie I couldn’t resist putting a quarter in the Pac-Man machine but I swear I didn’t ogle anybody!

When we passed the creek the boys stopped to take a look and ending up catching some little fish with their bare hands.  We were hot and sweaty after our bike ride so we talked Jeff into hooking up the boat and bringing us out to the point for a swim.  we swam for a couple of hours and a few of them came home sunburned (like Mark who decided to take a nap in the boat!).

We came home about 2 pm, had lunch, lazed around in the sun, played some more rummy and decided to go back for another swim at the public access.  The boys left about 7pm tonight and I’m exhausted.  It was a very fun and relaxing weekend but it was also a lot of work. My son teases me that I’m not as young as I once was and that’s why these events wear me out.  In a few weeks they will head off to summer camp where THEY will do all the work and I know Zach’s butt will be dragging when he comes home.  Maybe I’m not so old after all.





Highlight Reel July 4th-10th, 2009 July 10, 2009

Filed under: Highlight Reel — Angie S. @ 10:31 pm

Saturday-  Happy Fourth of July!  See earlier blog post on what we did today.

Sunday-  Had breakfast on the patio and then Jeff and Zach spent the afternoon fishing.  After supper we atched the movie 12 Rounds.  It was better then I expected.  That night Zach and I lit the tiki torches around the patio and played Yahtzee until about 11pm.

Monday-  back to work…ugh!  Finally got to watch Gran Torino tonight.  Everybody has been raving about this movie and truthfully it didn’t look that great to me but I loved it.  After watching it I immediately took it over to my Dad and said “I’ll pay the late fee-just watch it.”

Tuesday-  Had a Faith Formation large group meeting today to get together the hiring committee for the new positions at the church.  It went really werll and there is no need for us to meet againg until after the hiring is done the first week of August.  Our next meeting will be with one of the diocesan DREs and we will be discussing curriculum changes- mainly for our 6-12 students.  Then called to check in on dad who had a root canal today.  They are definitely no fun.  When I got home (with supper picked up from the deli at Wal-Mart since it was almost 8pm), Zach, Jeff and I lit the tiki torches and sat around the patio and played a game of Yahtzee and then just watched the lights.

Thursday-  Dad doing much better today.  I stopped in and he was out in the garden but he stopped and came up and sat with me for a while.  Tyler and Zach were at Monica’s house and Jeff wasn’t home yet so they invited me over for chicken dumpling soup.  My mom doesn’t normally make soup in the summer but she was trying to find something dad could eat.  It was yummy!  Planned the menu for our backyard campout with the Mighty Eagles  patrol this weekend as well as some of the activities we will be doing.  Zach is setting up a lumberjack contest with events like a hacksaw contest, a log rolling and a nail driving contest as well as a fire building contst in the evening.  Weather permitting we will also be going on a bike ride around the lake.

Friday-  Sat around the fire tonight after getting everything set up for tomorrow’s campout.  The meteorologist says the weekend is supposed to be beautiful- sunny and 78 degrees.  I can’t ask for anything better then that!


Let Freedom Ring! July 6, 2009

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 12:20 pm

What a fantastically beautiful Independence Day!  The weather couldn’t have been more cooperative.  It was sunny but it wasn’t too hot.

Our day started with watching the 4.4 on the 4th run past our house.  I would have loved to have joined the group but we needed to get going on our way to the parade in Crosby.  We picked up Monica and headed to Crosby.  We had a great spot on the parade route under the eaves of a local business with a spot just big enough on the curb for Gracie to sit and wait for the floats to go by and throw her handfuls of candy.

After the parade we headed to the Merrifield Lions park for a picnic.  We enjoyed our meal there and let Gracie have some time to play on the swings and go down the slides before we headed for Pelican Beach.

I am not much of a swimmer.  Oh, I like the water well enough, but I so seldom get a chance just to lay in the sun that on the 4th I take full advantage of it.  Zach stayed in the water for a couple of hours, Monica and Grace splashed around in it as well, and even Jeff did some wading to cool off.  Near 4pm we decided we had had enough sun so we packed up and headed out.

We drove next to Mom Simmonds’ house and visited with her for a while.  Grace had fallen asleep in the car and continued to sleep  in my mother-in-law’s arms the whole time we visited.  What a little angel!

Since Tyler was working the whole day we decided to see if we could hook up with him on his lunch break.  We ordered two pizzas to take out from Papa Johns and met up with him at the Paul Bunyan trailhead.  It was nice to be able to spend at least 40 minutes with him on the holiday.

Then, it was onto the fireworks.  We set up our blanket on the grass and settled in for the 3 hour wait.  My husband is a people watcher and normally I would rather read, but there is such a fun, festive, interesting mix of people that I really enjoyed just taking it all in.  There were young men dressed up in a gorilla suit and a chocolate bar costume running around (I have no idea what that was about) and a couple more creative young men who were holding large signs advertising Free Hugs.  I had to laugh as I watched their idea backfire.  The majority of the people that hugged them were other men!

When it was finally dusk my son made it back to the blanket with his cousin Eric and my Goddaughter Sarah joined us for a while as well (and ate all my Gummi Bears!).  The fireworks display were the best I had ever seen.  The city always puts on a great event but this year there were some interesting colors, designs and choreography.  Applause for a tremendous job!  It was a very enjoyable evening and a great day for celebrating our nations independence.  Thanks to all the men and women in the military who serve our country every day to ensure that celebrations like this will happen for a long time.