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Team Cross has an exciting announcement….

We are now homeowners!!!

See the newest addition to our family below:

We are excited about being first time homeowners and putting roots down in Minneapolis. We actually closed yesterday and today are celebrating 3 years of being married!! What an exciting week.

After 5 months of searching and 2 months of waiting we finally got the keys to our new house!!!  We started the cleaning process this evening, changed all the locks and got the first round of paint.  We’ve got a long way to go before we are settled in and only a short time.  We’ll be moving next Sunday – if you want to help!!

Stay tuned for more info and pictures!!

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Last week I felt a little off one day, ran the next and felt great, then didn’t feel so well again.  On Friday I woke up with a pain in my neck and lower back (when I stretched).  I opted not to run and by the evening I was starting to feel achy and exhausted.

Saturday I woke up with a fever, achy, chills, and still with the 2 pains.  I convinced Christy to take me to Urgent Care and we arrived right before a big rush.  The doctor spent maybe 10 minutes with us – listening to my symptoms and quickly checking my body over.  She ordered a CBC to check my white blood count.  The lab tech had trouble drawing my blood because I was so cold, he managed to get enough to  test my blood.  We then met the doctor again and she said that things looked fine in my blood so I had some type of virus.  She indicated that she couldn’t test me for H1N1 aka Swine Flu.  She also said that she couldn’t prescribe the tamiflu to me anyway so there was no reason to test for it.  I was also missing 2 of the “indicating symptoms” of H1N1.

My symptoms don’t really match any specific virus that I can find online.  I don’t have enough for lyme disease or West NileWebMD has lots of great diseases that I checked out over time, but none really matched my symptoms.

I mostly have a fever while I’m sleeping or napping.  Which is what I’m supposed to be doing.  My temps have ranged from 96.3 to 102.3 since Saturday.  Friday was the last time I slept through the night.  Every other I’ve been awoken by the fever.  When I haven’t had a fever I feel pretty good and life seems normal (except for the being cooped up at home part).  But once the fever hits I don’t feel so hot again.

Luckily, I’ve been able to eat full, regular meals without an stomach or intestinal distress.  That is the only upside of my being sick.

Over the last week I’ve had to miss work everyday, a board meeting for the YNPN in the Twin Cities, SALT (English tutoring), a race, 2 group runs, small group, and had to reschedule an appointment with a physical therapist for my running.  Not to mention that it has been an amazing week, weather wise.

I’m planning on going to a doctor today.  Hopefully they will be able to do something for me, besides just rest and drink lots of fluids.

I’ve been tweeting about my illness. Check out this link to see what I’ve said  #stupidvirus

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This past weekend we went camping with our good friends the Johnson’s.  You may recall that we did this last year as well and it might become an annual tradition.  I don’t quite have the time to make collages like I did from last year’s pictures (1 2 3 4, but it is really hard to choose only a few pictures to post from just over 300 that I took.

We had a good time exploring some new parts of Gooseberry and also just re-experiencing some of the old, including Split Rock Lighthouse.  The waterfall is such an amazing thing to see, all the power and glory of the rushing water.  It is also amazing to watch Lake Superior.  This year it was cool and misty for most of Saturday with a little splurt of flurries for a bit.  This makes for a dark and wavy lake.  On Sunday it was sunny and calm which brings out a whole new set of colors and experiences on the lake.  See if you can see the contrast in the pictures!

Our only real mishap this year was that our camping stove had a gas leak in the valve which  made for a slow cooking process and an interesting torch experience!  We are now more equipped for “cool” camping and enjoyed the warmth of our zero degree sleeping bags!

Now for some of the pictures:

We had a great time.

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Crushed.

That is the first word that comes to mind to describe the feeling I got today when our realtor called with some very bad news.  She felt terrible and was horrified by the situation but she had to tell us that we lost the house that we had just gotten excited about last night.

We wrote an offer on an awesome house and the selling agent said that we had the only valid offer on the table.  Great, so we’ll just wait patiently – trying not to get too excited (since this was the third offer we’d submitted on different houses).  Well last night she got a call saying that the seller’s agent told her that the seller and the seller’s bank (short sale) had approved our offer.

This morning she went to deliver our earnest money to the seller’s agent and found out that an old offer had suddenly been resurrected from thin air – just this morning.  The bank liked their offer better and rejected ours.  As far as she knows there isn’t anything illegal about this since we hadn’t actually put any money down – yet.   She was furious at them and their ethical issues surrounding this.

We are crushed.  We had shown much restraint this time around not wanting to get broken by another offer being rejected.  Last night we rejoiced and were extatic about finally getting a sweet house.  I texted and e-mailed Christy hoping she would call me on her lunch break so I could deliver the bad news.  Not that I was excited to – but I knew that she needed to know so she could stop being excited about the house.

Crushed.

This is a good word for the day:

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit  – Psalms 34:18

Last year you may recall that we had a brief encounter with cold weather camping – unexpectedly and wholly unprepared.  Since then we have acquired more appropriate gear and were eager to test it out.  We just had to wait for a free weekend that wasn’t going to be below 0 degrees (our sleeping bags are only rated above 0). Well we finally got it on Feb 28 and March 1.  We started planning on Monday before and at the last minute decided to throw in some cross-country skiing lessons first thing in the morning.

So we drove to Elm Creek Park Preserve and took a 2 hour lesson on classical skiing (you know the one in the grooves).  This was a lot of fun! It was windy but the sun was out and the temps felt good.  After learning the basics the instructor took us out on a short loop so we could experience some real skiing.  It was interesting to watch everyone in the group catch on – fall over and enjoy themselves! He took us to a very small hill and had us practice going down and then coming back up.  I fell each of these times on the way down – the grooves were worn out at the bottom and my stopping ability was a little shaky! We survived the lesson and then were told we could do any of the trails in the park without the added price of a trail pass.  Not being too confident we did the same small loop and enjoyed every second of it (and for the record I didn’t fall on the hill this time). We did about 5k of skiing which isn’t a lot but was good enough.  For those who know the park we did the Northern Lights Trail.

Following that adventure we drove clear across the Metro to Afton State Park for the camping part of our adventure.  This was our

first time here, but knew they had backpack only sites about a mile to a mile and a half from the parking lot.  So not too far if we had to ditch.  We had an enjoyable walk in, except for a set of shoveled stairs – we didn’t see the snowshoer’s sign that followed the incline.  We shared much of the trail with the cross country skiers so we had to be careful not to walk on the groomed trail if we could help it. From the parking lot it is pretty much straight downhill then flat for a little bit and then straight up hill to the campground area. It made for a little work but we appreciated our rented snow shoes from REI – they kept us out of the deep snow and gave some needed grip on the uphill.

We picked out a campsite on the side of the hill away from Afton Alps and that provided some wind cover.  We proceeded to stomp down the snow around the site (as instructed during a winter camping class at Midwest Mountaineering), setup our tent, and then headed up to get firewood.   Setting up the tent was a little tricky since the ground was frozen, but I had thought about that and bought some pouches that are used for snow and sand camping.  There wasn’t quite enough snow for them to work so we just put pieces of firewood in them. Yes, Afton offers two saws and a huge pile of leftover pieces from making lumber for you to cut up and use for your fire – they also provide trash cans full of kindling!!  While mentioning the amenities they also have pit toilets, picnic tables, fire pits, and water available to campers – roughing it with some provisions!  Christy proceeded to setup the fire and we realized our first major mistake – our matches weren’t strike anywhere and we didn’t have the striker pad. Luckily, we knew there was another camper and he gave us a lighter to use.

Crisis solved.  I got some more firewood and Christy got the fire going.  Now time for dinner.  Second major mistake. When I bought new fuel for the backpacking stove I bought the right mix – but didn’t check the coupler.  This one brand doesn’t have a screw on coupler and I couldn’t get the stove to work.  Ugh.  So we had to boil water over the fire.  It takes a lot longer that way but we enjoyed our Mountain House Lasagna w/ Meat Sauce Freeze Dried 2 Person Pouch eventually.

Look closely,
it might say
2 above
(not counting
wind chill).

Climbing in to our cold sleeping bags wasn’t pleasant but they warmed up fairly quickly.  I went to sleep feeling toasty warm – almost perfect.  Christy was a little cold – despite wearing countless layers.  I awoke in the middle of the night because my toes were freeeezing.  Wiggle, wiggle didn’t help.  So I got dug around and struggled to put on another layer of socks – didn’t help.  For both of us the rest of the night was one of haggard sleep trying to keep blood moving to the toes.   As the sun started peaking up I arose as well to get a fire going and try to warm things up.  Despite being buried in the snow our water bottles had frozen so I began the even longer process of melting snow on an open fire.

The fire helped marginally to keep things warm (though my toes didn’t warm up until after almost 20 minutes in the car).  Now I was struggling with my hands turning into blocks of ice and trying to keep the fire going as hot as possible and keep it cooking able.  I scarfed the hot oatmeal – Christy was too cold to be hungry and we started packing up.  Everything – the tent, our sleeping bags, packs, and sleep rolls were either frozen or had a layer of frost on them, making it harder to pack up and get everything nice and small like it is supposed to be!

All loaded back up we began heading out, the hiking helped warm us up and put us in a better mood. We did a little exploring around trying to enjoy the beautiful scenery. We were glad to see our car unload ourselves and get into some semblance of warmth.   Our fingers and toes hurt but we are always happy to survive an adventure!

I don’t think we’ll be doing  anymore camping in Minnesota during February!

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It is fun to work with middle school kids! They were supposed to be creating ads for a product and some of them had fun drawing me. I’m not really sure what to make of their depictions.

And this beauty as well:

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Youth Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy, and youth job readiness training.

Why you ask?  They have become a major part of my job.  For the past year I’ve been working on a new program at my middle school.  The short version of the story is that many of our students are constantly needing to raise money  for field trips, athletic fees, and other school-related fees.  We are a pretty mixed income school with a few homeless/highly-mobile youth and a few who are pretty wealthy.  And a bunch that are working and/or middle class.

In 2007 an involved community member/former parent had an idea of students earning money by doing work around the community. When I came to the school in 2008 I was tasked to get the program up and running. The foundation of the program is connecting our students with local residents who need work done around their house.  Yes, there are lots of issues surrounding this idea, but so far it is working! Students shovel, rake, weed, mow, etc for a donation of $5 an hour.  Even if the students don’t completly love the idea of working, their parents do!!

We think it offers a chance for the students to learn some valuable skills and experiences, while also meeting needs in the community. A lot of our customers are elderly residents who like the idea of supporting a local school.  As you can imagine this takes a lot of work – connecting customers and students and on a really busy day I feel more like a dispatcher than anything else!  I enjoy talking with the customers (except the crabby ones) and especially getting to talk with the kids.  Because of the intense amount of time and pressure for this aspect we’ve decided to branch out and create something a little more sustainable.

Thus, entrepreneurship.  The idea is that student create their own small businesses that can help fund their education.  It can be targetted towards other students or the broader community.  We are still in the beginning stages of exploring this opportunity.  During the last year I also realized that many of the students I work with aren’t financially literate.  Few of them have bank accounts or have an understanding of the simplest financial practices.  As a result we are going to start covering some of the basics.

This is a somewhat random post, but I missed church this weekend due to a fundraising dinner for the program I described above.  See, it all connects together!

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