Saturday, April 9, 2011

North Shore Trip

 I can't believe that I have never been to the North Shore of Minnesota until now.  My parents never took us up north this far that I can remember and I'm sure the lack of time and money were the reasons why.  We were clearly denied to opportunity to see God's beauty and creation.  The first stop we made was at the Sandstone Quarry.  On the side of the cliffs were the snow falls and because it's just starting to thaw out up here, there were small streams of water trickling down.  So very cool and peaceful and serene.  Until a big snow chunk fell off as we were walking away.  That was a cool sound and I was glad we decided to leave at that time.
The Duluth Harbor was so awesome to see and I was in such awe that once again a dream of mine had been realized that I shed a couple tears.  For those of you that don't know me, I don't cry so easy, but just the reality of FINALLY going to Duluth, MN was so overwhelming and emotional for me.  It was just AWESOME.  My niece Megan is thinking about going to college here, I sure hope she does so I can visit often.  It's beautiful up here and she would love it. 

Gooseberry Falls was simply amazing.  And the ice chunks in the river were equally cool.  Again, God's beauty at it's best.
This is Lake Superior from the hotel room.  How cool to have a balcony overlooking the lake.  I can't wait to take my kids here and share all this with them.  I hope my love for these great sites will rub off on them and they can enjoy these beauties from now on and that they can pass this love on down to their children.  I want my kids to experience all that the North Shore has to offer.
I can't wait to go to Grand Marais today and explore more of this great beauty.  This certainly gives me a better appreciation of this great State of Minnesota and all its beauty it has to offer.
I'll post more tomorrow.
Until then....Love, TT

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Today is a remarkable day in the lives of the Minnesota Marlar's and especially for one Ashley Marie Marlar.  You see 21 years ago today Ashley Marie Marlar was born and weighed in around 4 pounds 12 ounces (or very close) and with an enlarged heart defect they call Epstein's Anomaly.  This was very scary not only for her teenage parents, but the grandparents and rest of the family as well.  We didn't know if she would live or die.  The Dr.'s didn't know either as this was a very rare condition.  They didn't think she'd live past the age of 7.  They didn't know if she'd ever talk, walk, anything.  They just didn't know enough about this condition.  I didn't know she was even born until after the fact because of her fragile condition and daily fight for life.  When I got the call from my mom saying Tessie had had a baby girl and that baby was in the NICU, the first thing I said was, "Have dad come and get me!" 
You see I was living an hour south in Austin, MN at the time and had no vehicle.  My dad rocked at being the family taxi.  Anytime we needed a ride, he was there.  So he ventured south on very little sleep to come get his oldest baby girl.  He knew how important it was for me to be there with my new baby niece who was fighting for the very breath she was taking. 
We arrived at Minneapolis Children's 2 1/2 hours later and he brought me in to see her.  But before I went in my mom warned me of all the tubes and monitors hooked up to the baby.  I was prepared to see all that, but I wasn't prepared to fall in love at first sight. 
From the very moment that I saw that baby girl laying in the NICU bassinette she took my breath away and I knew she was going to be a special person in my life forever.  I immediately stood there and prayed and smiled for I knew an Angel had been sent from Heaven and God wasn't taking her anywhere anytime soon.  But still I prayed. And talked to her.  And loved on her.  And planned her whole life for us around our Auntie/Niece relationship.  And all the fun things we would do when she got out of the hospital.  Because she WAS coming home, I just didn't know it would take 2 1/2 months and a couple or so surgeries to get her there.   I also didn't know that we'd have MANY more stays in the hospital and many more surgeries to endure.
But through all her trials and tribulations, Ashley has rarely complained and ALWAYS smiled.  And we've tried to make it as fun as possible for her.  And she's always pulled through, prevailed and amazed her Dr.'s and accomplished the impossible.
Last night Tessie threw a surprise birthday party for her (because this is such a HUGE accomplishment)complete with a DJ (Rick Webb), friends, and families (Marlar's, Drache's, and Winjum's).  She had no clue and was absolutely tickled that we would all come together for her.  She danced and sang her little heart out and had a blast with everyone there.  She said hi and talked to just about everyone that came and went.  She'll have those memories for a long time to come. 
And she again took my breath away as she turned 21 today. 
And I couldn't be a prouder Auntie and Godmother.
I love you Ashley Marie Marlar!! 
Happy 21st Birthday Baby Girl!!