Anniversary Trip — Iceland

Posted May 14th, 2017 in Events, Family, Janelle, Josh, Trips by Janelle

The last leg of our trip was to Iceland. This wasn’t originally part of our travel plan, but when I booked award travel on Icelandair, I decided to extend our trip just a bit to do a stopover.


This was the VRBO that we rented for the 4 nights we stayed in Iceland. If I could do it all over I would have not had Reykjavik as our home base, but rather traveled to other places to stay. Going back to the city made for a lot of driving which prevented us from getting to a couple places I wanted to.

The first evening we found some dinner, found our VRBO, and found a grocery store. Right away we had complete sticker shock of the cost of food in Iceland. We paid $10 for a dozen eggs, a small box of Cheerios was over $10, just 1 orange was $5, and a $5 footlong at Subway was $13. All food was at least twice if not 3X more expensive than here.

Our first full day we toured the Golden Circle. First stop was Þingvellir National Park.


The park sits in a rift valley caused by the separation of 2 tectonic plates, and the oldest existing parliament in the world first assembled there in 930 AD. Þingvellir has for this reason been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Next stop was Efstidalur. It’s a farm with a hotel and restaurant. We stopped for ice cream and it was literally the best thing I ate on that island.


It was pretty fun to sit and eat your homemade ice cream and look out the window right at the cow that produced the milk.


On to our Brúarfoss adventure. This waterfall is not very public and you kind of have to hike a little ways to find it. We found it and the blue water was so amazing.



Strokkur Geysir is the geysir for which all other geysirs are named after. It’s the original.


The sheer size of Gullfoss is what is most impressive.


Last stop of the day was at Secret Lagoon/Gamla Laugin.


The next day was more driving to Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Some highlights included:

Gerðuberg Cliffs — The cliff is made of basalt columns that form geometric patterns.

Gatklettur, Arnarstapi




Hvalfjarðargöng — A road tunnel under the Hvalfjörður fjord in Iceland and a part of Route 1. It is 6 kilometers long and reaches a depth of 541 feet below sea level

On our last full day, instead of driving out to South Iceland, we stayed in Reykjavik. First we walked past the sculpture Sólfarið – Sun Voyager.


Then to Harpa, concert hall, which was a beautiful modern and geometric building.



And we wandered up to Hallgrimskirkja, a church, and one of the city’s best-known landmarks.


It was Good Friday, so we weren’t allowed inside, but we came back Saturday morning before leaving town to head inside for a peek.


On Saturday, our last day, we headed out of town. We took the long way to the airport and stopped at Krýsuvík Geothermal Area.



After 10 days of celebrating 10 years, we were totally ready to get back to the boys (and girls) at home. We had a great time in Europe but really missed the family we created over the last 10+. Looking forward to the next 10!

Hitting the Links with Warner

Posted October 17th, 2015 in Golf, Warner by Josh

Warner’s golf game has made some amazing progress this summer. He’s been hooked on the game since early this spring when I got him a set of plastic Snoopy themed clubs. He now asks every day to either “play golf” or “go golf course.”

In early March, Warner stared swinging his Snoopy club one handed. He was pretty excited to hit the ball!


By May, he was hitting dozens of balls per day.


For his second birthday, I bought him the shortest set of US Kids Golf clubs which included a putter, driver, and seven iron. I thought he was getting strong enough to swing a real club with two hands…he certainly was.


He took to putting naturally (must have been all the golf we have on TV on the weekends). He has a great attitude, whenever he misses the putt he says, “almost” and tries again.


On August 7th, he made a 15ft putt at Gross National Golf Course in northeast Minneapolis.


By the end of the summer, he had this golf thing mastered. He routinely flies (foam) balls from the top of the hill in our backyard down the bushes planted behind the house. He hits some “big shots,” some “baby shots” and tries to hit balls into the “owl house” (it’s a hole in the big tree in our backyard — he saw Dad do it once and has been fixated on it since).


Au Gratin Open 2015

Posted June 7th, 2015 in Events, Golf, Josh, Traditions by Josh

Last weekend, Matt and I hosted our annual golf tournament, The Au Gratin Open. We invite a bunch of guys down to Albert Lea for a 54 hole one day tourney at Wedgewood Cove. The format is “best ball with yourself” where each player plays the course three times and takes the best score on each hole to make their best 18 hole score.

This year’s champ is Matt with a score of six under par. He started out strong shooting one under on his back nine in his first round. We use an app on our phones to keep track of our scores in real time. Below is our champ checking the leader board confirming his win.


Despite some wind, scores were pretty low with three players getting under par.


Every year we have a champions dinner the night before. Traditionally, we have played street hockey, usually resulting in all of us getting too hot and sweaty. This year, Matt bought a Sauce Toss game for us to play. The goal of the game is to shoot a hockey puck from one board to the other. Points are scored when the puck goes into either the one point net or the smaller three point net. We had a ton of fun playing this game. Some of the highlights include; Mark’s game winning three point shot that landed off the board, jumped up and sneaked past Forsman who attempted to defend his net and my dominating performance vs. Matt who had been talking significant trash the week before the event.


Thanks Matt and Brie for hosting. Looking forward to next year!

Oh Yeah, the Basement.

Posted June 6th, 2015 in Basement, Handy-Crafty, Josh by Janelle

You may remember back in February when we posted about moving the laundry room. Remember this?


Well, a lot has happened since then, so I’ll get you up to speed.

In order to start framing up some walls, we needed to move our water heater. It’s not just a simple move, because it requires some light plumbing work. Josh and my dad removed the old copper pipe, and relocated the water heater using new flexible piping. Then, Josh brought the copper pipe to the recycling center where a “fellow scrapper” told him that his load was worth “a lot!”…turns out it was worth $17.


We didn’t move the water heater far, but before it was right in the way, so we moved it to be within the wall and closer to the furnace.

That’s when the framing started. My dad helped Josh get started, but for the most part it was all Josh and he did a great job.


This shows the storage and furnace room all framed up with electrical.

Do you know how nice it is to have outlets? Well we only had 1 outlet in the whole basement. One outlet and I would switch between 3 different things that I would plug into it: the washer, the dryer and an extension cord to a power strip over by the furnace. That probably wasn’t to code.

This is the laundry room:



With all these walls going up, there was one coming down. We had one remaining piece of wall from the old coal room. Josh removed it carefully in two pieces.


Josh used Grandpa Bud’s belt sander to smooth it out and then reinstalled it.


After all the walls were framed up, and Josh had installed all the electrical outlets, switches, and overhead lights, we had the walls sheetrocked professionally. Two guys started putting plastic up at 8:30 in the morning and they left at noon with sheetrock up and seems taped and mudded. One guy came back the following monday and sanded for 30 minutes and we were good to go! Amazing!



Do give you a better idea of the spaces that we created and modified, this is a drawing of the space before and after.

Basement Before and After

We’re getting so close! Still left to do is:
Finish painting the walls
Install and stain the doors
Install and paint the millwork
Have carpet installed
Replace the stair treads

I think we’re all looking forward to the finished space!

Tubbaby II

Posted May 25th, 2015 in Events, Family, Janelle, Josh, Life, Pregnancy, Warner by Janelle

That’s right. We’re excited to welcome Tubbaby II, due September 30th.


With Warner, we decided to find out his gender and keep it a secret to ourselves. This time around we chose to have the ultrasound technician write down the gender for us and we kept it in an envelop. Then we opened it with some family, last Sunday.


Turns out, Warner will have a little brother!!

SoCal Golf

Posted March 16th, 2015 in Golf, Josh, Trips by Josh

No trip to a warm climate would be complete without a few rounds of golf. Our trip to Palm Springs was no different.

With 124 courses the Palm Springs area I had no shortage of options. I chose to play PGA West, home of the PGA Tour’s Humana Challenge. I played the Stadium course, ranked in the top 100 courses in the world and the 4th hardest in the United States.

There was a college tournament going on at the same time on another course on the property. I rubbed elbows with the college guys as I warmed up on the driving range between the Oklahoma State and Stanford teams.

The course was a lot of fun, with water, mounds and views of the nearby mountain range.


My second round of the trip required a two hour drive to San Diego where I played the Torrey Pines South Course. The South Course hosts the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open annually and hosted the US Open in 2008. The Farmer’s had just ended 12 days prior to my visit, and they were still working to break down the tents and grandstands from the tournament. It was fun to play a tournament course complete with grandstands.

The course is perched on the bluffs along the Pacific. If I wasn’t hitting a golf shot I was usually turned looking at the ocean and the paragliders that frequent the bluffs.



On the 18th hole, home of Tiger’s epic playoff forcing putt in 2008, I almost recreated history. I set myself up 12 feet under the hole, (not like Tiger who left himself a slippery downhiller) but just lipped out for birdie. I had my Tiger like celebration all planned out, instead I was left with a tap in par that capped off a great day.


Canada Hunting 2014

Posted October 28th, 2014 in Josh, Traditions, Trips by Josh

This post is long overdue! October 3rd I got back from a week of hunting in Canada with my Dad, Grandpa, uncle Mike and Mike’s friend from high school, Rick. This was our forth year staying with Sally and Norbert, but this year was a bit different. They recently sold their house in the country and moved into Humboldt. Their new house was very nice and their cooking was as good as ever!

We had six good hunts during the week that yielded 198 birds, three field hunts and three duck hunts.


Our field hunts were productive with help from some new equipment. We invested in a new electronic call and two spinning flyer devices. Both added to the realism of our decoy spread. One of our hunts we took advantage of rows of pea swathing by hiding our blinds in the rows. Another hunt we used an old rail line surrounded by brush to hide our blinds.


One of the three duck hunts was planned, the other two were due to morning rain that kept us out of the field. Norbert tipped us off to a great slew that was a mile south of Lake Lenore and seven miles to the east. We had two good hunts in that location including an evening hunt where we had bunches of mallards come into our decoys at sundown.


Spending as much time out in the field as we do during the week allows us to see not only ducks and geese but other wide life as well. This trip we saw two moose come out of the woods a few hundred yards away and three mule deer walk by not far in front of us.

The trip was a lot of fun. It was great to spend a week with family, make a new hunting friend and catch up with Sally and Norbert. Looking forward to getting back up their next year!

California Golfing

Posted May 12th, 2014 in Golf, Trips by Josh

In an earlier post, Janelle wrote about all the awesome stuff we did while on our trip to California last month. She left me to write about the true reason we were there—to play golf! The trip was all planned in celebration of Matt and my 30th birthday. For such an important occasion, we needed to play somewhere special. What we planned was just that. We played three days in a row while we were out there at courses ranked in the top 100 public courses in America. The highlight was our last round at Pebble Beach Golf Links which is ranked #1. Spyglass Hill is #11 and Links at Spanish Bay is #60.

Our first round of the trip was at Links at Spanish Bay. Both Matt and I had played there before when he came out to visit us in 2009. It was a blast to go back and play here again. The course was familiar and just as challenging as we remembered. We both played fairly well despite a light drizzle for 13 of the 18 holes. This was a great way to warm up for the next two days.

Saturday we played Spyglass Hill which along with being #11 is also the 8th hardest course in America. It did not disappoint. I had played there in 2009 on my first trip to Monterey. I was so happy after adding up my score to see that I had improved my score by 1 from that first round in 2009! Matt started out hot with two birdies in the first three holes. The way he played was truly impressive given the narrow fairways and super-fast greens. We had a great time but our minds where still looking ahead to playing Pebble the next day. Matt and I had been counting down the days for months and we were only 1 day away.


First shot on the par three third hole. Hit the green and 2 putted for par.

The day was finally here. Our tee time was 9:20am, and I had a hard time sleeping up to the 7am alarm. We made it out to the course an hour early to take advantage of the new practice facility on site. We hit a few balls at the driving range then went across to the practice putting green between the clubhouse and the Shops at Pebble Beach. The weather was perfect with no wind and a temperature in the low 60s.

This day was different than prior days because Matt and I weren’t playing by ourselves—we had a complete foursome. Our friends Matt and Erica Forsman planned a trip out to Monterey to meet up with us so Matt could play at Pebble with us. Brie completed our foursome. Janelle and Erica walked with us taking photos.

The first 5 holes where inland and got us ready for holes six through 10 which overhang the Pacific and are some of the most iconic holes in golf. We all used the first few holes to steady the nerves and get into the groove.

The 6th hole is a long par five that requires a you to hit a second shot to the top of a steep 50ft hill. Brie did this perfectly.


The 7th hole is one of the shortest holes in golf. It’s only 100 yards with a severe elevation change and the ocean to the right and behind the hole. I hit a great wedge shot to 20ft, 2-putting for par. This was one of the shots I really wanted to hit well.


The 8th hole is arguably the signature hole at Pebble Beach. A blind tee shot of 240 yards up the hill sets you up for the best second shot in golf over the cliffs to the green below. We all hit great tee shots to the edge of the cliff with Matt T., Brie and I hitting the green. These two shots woke me up at night in the months leading up to this round. I so badly wanted to hit two good shots. I could not be happier that I was able to pull it off.



Hole No. 8, Pebble Beach,

Holes 9 and 10 are long par fours that sit on the cliffs above Carmel Beach.



Holes 11 through 16 go back up the hill away from the ocean.

The 17th hole is a par three that shoots back out to the ocean. This hole has seen two of the most famous shots in golf history (Jack Nicklaus’ 1 iron shot that hit the flagstick, which lead to a win in the 1972 US Open, and Tom Watson’s chip-in from the tall rough, left of the green, in 1982 to win the US Open over Nicklaus). I hit a great 1st shot that flew just barely short, and ending in the front bunker. Then, I hit a nice bunker shot and made a 10ft putt for par.


The 18th hole is a long par five with Still Water Cove down the entire left side of the hole. This is one of the best closing holes in golf and a great way to end an amazing day.


Janelle, Josh, Erica, Matt, Matt, Brie on the 18th tee.

Arcade Fire Reflektor

Posted March 9th, 2014 in Janelle, Josh, Music by Janelle


Last night, Josh and I went to the Arcade Fire concert at Target Center with our good friends Hannes and Liz. The show was AMAZING! We had such a good time up in the cheap seats and Arcade Fire played so many good jams from not only Reflektor but The Suburbs, Neon Bible, and Funeral.

Janelle’s Jam, Normal Person, Reflektor

IMG 0920 from jvtmpls on Vimeo.

Josh’s Jam, After Life, Reflektor

IMG 0921 from jvtmpls on Vimeo.

6 Month Favorites

Posted January 28th, 2014 in Family, Janelle, Josh, Warner by Janelle