Monday, November 30, 2015

2013 Schwake Inc. Top Headlines

I have reduced our annual Christmas letter to a little 20-line blurb printed on a packing label that I attach to our card.  I can print 6 at a shot and it saves a ton of time.

The last letter I wrote was in 2013 but was sent.  That was the year I started the label thing.  But the letter was pretty funny, if I can be so smug. It was a tongue-in-cheek Top Headlines of the Year-type thing for Schwake Incorporated.  

Since it never went to print, I thought I'd share it here instead.  This year, you'll get our card slapped with a label that squeezes in the barest details of our year, but if you come here (and you probably will since I put the link on the label) you will hopefully have fun reading what you never got a couple years ago.  

2013 Schwake Incorporated Top Headlines


Corporate Mascot Dies At Age 12 Surrounded By Loving Family

Attley Schwake, beloved corporate mascot for Schwake Inc. passed away last Tuesday, January 15th, surrounded by family.  His last moments were peaceful.  Those in attendance were tearfully saying their goodbyes while supplying the sweet black dog with lots of hugs, petting and many words of love.  Attley will be remembered for his sweet demeanor, his love of tennis balls in the snow, his loving nature and bad breath.


COO Granted Vacation In Mexico After Rumors of a Threatened Corporate Shutdown

Chief Operating Officer of Schwake Inc., Michelle Schwake, was granted a one week vacation in the resort town of Playa Del Carmon, Mexico last week.  While denying rumors of a corporate shutdown if her efforts at managing Schwake Incorporated were not recognized, she did note that the vacation was “a much needed break from the cold weather and constant work.”  Chief Executive Officer, Scott Schwake, who also went on the vacation, when asked about his involvement simply stated, “I did what I had to do.” 


Company-wide Spring Strategic Planning Meeting At Waterpark Of America Deemed A Success

Top brass and employees of Schwake Inc. attended a spring Strategic Planning Meeting at Waterpark of America this past week.  Topics addressed at the meeting included:  Making Your Bed And Why It’s Important, Brushing Your Teeth And Why It’s Important, Not Hitting Your Siblings And Why It’s Important and the well attended What Should We Do During Summer Break This Year?  While not attending break-out sessions, employees were allowed to visit the waterpark and its many attractions.  When asked what they thought of the event one employee stated, “It was AWESOME!!”


Schwake Inc. Relocates to New Corporate Headquarters

Before their lease was set to expire, CEO Scott Schwake, along with COO Michelle Schwake, found a new location for the corporate headquarters in the southwest corner of Grand Rapids, MN.  The company purchased the new headquarters to better facilitate corporate endeavors and to provide expanded space for capital inventory.  “We like stuff” said CEO Schwake.  And now the company will have room for that stuff.  The 4 bedroom, 3-car-garage house with the detached workshop and storage area should be able to accommodate the company for several years.  Renovations are being planned with a remodeling of the downstairs bathroom being the first major project.


CEO Approves Capital Expenditure for Company Yacht

CEO Scott Schwake approved $500 for a new company yacht last Friday.  When asked about the purchase he said, “It’s really more of a pontoon.  But it will suit our needs just fine.”  The water craft is a vintage 1970’s era two-tooned pontoon with a 40 horsepower motor.  The boat is being worked on to fix some lighting and steering issues, as well as general cleaning and maintenance which has been long neglected.  It is slated to make its maiden voyage and be moored at the corporate retreat property on Bass Lake in northern Itasca County later this month.


Three Top Employees Promoted!

Three of Schwake Inc. most promising new leaders were promoted this week.  Cate Schwake, age 9, was promoted to 4th grade.  Clare Schwake, age 8, was promoted to 3rd grade.  And Cooper Schwake, age 5, was promoted to Kindergarten.  After a 3 month sabbatical all employees are refreshed and enjoying the new routine and new teachers.  While both Cate and Clare are used to the routine of all-day, every-day school, Cooper is still getting used to the long hours.  When asked how he liked his new duties he replied with a shrug, “It’s okay, I guess.”


Schwake Incorporated Celebrates 11 Years of Success

Eleven years ago this month Schwake Enterprises merged with Guillemette, LLC to become Schwake Incorporated.  The momentous event was marked by celebrations in the street and lots of treats for everyone.  While some would say that the celebrations are because of Halloween, those at Schwake Inc., choose to believe that it’s all for them and the success of their company.


New Feline Mascot Hired Unexpectedly, Search Continues for Canine Mascot

Since it’s inception, Schwake Inc. has always had a canine mascot.  After the death of Attley, the beloved corporate mascot in January of this year, the company has been waiting on a good time to hire a new canine mascot.  But during that wait a feline mascot by the name of Leopard (Leppy or Lep for short) came knocking on the company doors.  First spotted in late October, the cat was given food and water but would be on it’s way each night, never making a formal commitment to Schwake Inc.  “We didn’t know if he belonged to someone else or if he was just making do in the outdoors,” said COO Michelle Schwake.  But as the weather turned colder, the feline became a regular visitor to corporate headquarters, oftentimes staying for a few days and nights at a time.  After Thanksgiving, the COO decided that the cat would make a good corporate mascot and decided to offer permanent employment to the mascot.  A medical visit is in the works and the search still continues for a canine mascot, which should happen sometime in the beginning of the new fiscal year.


Toilet Paper Rationing Mandated After Clogged Comode Floods Two Floors Amidst Corporate Remodeling

Two floors of the corporate headquarters were flooded after an overflowing toilet incident last Tuesday night.  A broken flap inside the tank is to blame, although an excessive use of toilet paper being flushed did contribute greatly to the problem.  CEO Scott Schwake was on the scene quickly and helped to mitigate widespread damage.  The company is thankful that the flooding happened in non-carpeted areas and that the remodeling of the downstairs bathroom was in its early stages, leading to very little residual damage.  COO Michelle Schwake was quoted as saying, “I was looking for a reason to get rid of that dropped ceiling anyway.”   A new training program has been initiated for all Kindergarten level employees on proper toilet paper usage.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Waiting for Winter

Hello all!
We have had the most amazingly warm fall that I can think of!  Today is giving us a little hint of winter, cold and blustery with occasional light snow.  But, it's November 12th, for pete's sake!  It should be like that.  And anyway, the forecast is calling for another warm up next week.  I'll take it.

Speaking of warm ups, we're all gonna be super warm in a week or two.  We are heading down to the Caribbean for a Disney cruise soon!  The kids are over the moon, and Scott and I are pretty excited about it, too.  We owe it all to Scott's very generous parents who gave us this amazing gift (along with Scott's brother and his family).  The kids have never seen the ocean or been somewhere really warm in the winter.  And now they get to do it with their grandparents and cousins.  Perfect!

Life just continues to be busy.  I'm trying to make a little margin by handing off one of my jobs - my blog job for Stafford Family Realtors.  I really enjoy it, but enjoy my church job a lot more so it made sense to pare it down. I need and want to have more time for just getting house stuff done, being with my kiddos when they get home from school instead of working through until 5:00, and doing little projects like painting rooms, or making a dessert.  Those things have gone by the wayside since I started working.  I hope they come back.  Margin is good.

School activities are ramping up.  Cate is still doing piano and added band and choir this year, along with a book club.  She'll start traveling basketball next week and Scott will coach again.

Clare is still in violin and will be starting up with the Archery Team in December which will go until March and include weekend travel.  We'll be a split family for a while.

Cooper is liking school way better and I know for a fact its because God answered my desperate plea for the perfect teacher for him.  Mrs. Sjodin is everything we could ever want a teacher to be for our son.  So thankful.  Cooper just started guitar lessons and he will be starting basketball in December.

I'm still trying to draw and paint once in a while.  Again, need margin!!  I was hoping to have cranked out a bunch of watercolors before Christmas but its just not happening.  Still co-leading women's ministries, still leading community group.  And now I'm leading a bible study, I'm volunteering an hour ever week in Cooper's class, and I'm on a couple of committees, too.  I know, I know.  I need to say no more often.

Scott is still crazy busy at work.  Not much to report there.

Moto is fully grown and a very vocal dog.  Funny.  And sweet.

I hope this post finds you all enjoying some warm fall weather, and being thankful.  I sure am thankful for so many things.  Too many to count. God is so good and we are very blessed.  Take care until next time!

Here are a bunch of pictures in no particular order.

First day of school this year.

Fourth of July parade in Longville

Enjoying the waves of Lake Michigan

Enjoying the brews of Door County with friend and neighbor Tiffany

Two of the brood got to go to a Twins Game this summer.

Coop's 7th b-day party at the Sawmill Inn swimming pool.

Cate's 11th bday at the bowling alley

The grandmas enjoying a glass of wine on our deck

Grandpa Ernie

Clare enjoys climbing trees.

Father/Daughter dance (dirty camera lens)



A rousing game of foursquare with Grandpa Kenny in our driveway

We did a lot of this over the summer on our new pontoon!

Clare enjoying the sand beaches in Musining, MI

Painted rocks at Musining, MI.  Great vacation with our friends/neighbors.

Rocks on Superior

Clare's b-day - new luggage for the cruise!

My handsome man!!

Monday, March 2, 2015

An Occasional Writer

Last night, Clare asked me if I still had our family blog.  I said that it was still up but that I hadn't been keeping up with it for a long time.  "Are you ever going to write in it again?"

Hmm, am I?  I guess so. I find that when I've posted in the past, it's become a big project!  Lots of words, lots of pictures which translates to taking a lot of time to post it.  So I'm gonna keep it more simple when I do post.

When I last wrote, we had JUST moved into our new house.  At the time I thought it was totally a temporary home but it's looking to be more permanent.  God's calling me to be content and quit striving for the perfect earthly home and concentrate instead on my eternal domicile.

That doesn't mean that there aren't a ton of projects I want to accomplish.  We're currently working on remodeling the basement bathroom.  Which, if you know Scott, has already been a year-long project and will likely be another year before it's finished.  But hey, he does quality work and he's a very busy man!

Kids are good.  Cate is LOVING 5th grade and school in general.  She is also ADORING basketball.  She made the traveling team again this year and we're just about rounding out the season.  She continues to play piano...not huge words to describe this one but she does enjoy it.  She is 11, definitely starting the whole adolescent process.  She has a couple really close friends but tends to have friends in lots of different groups that she's very comfortable with. She's drawing away bit by bit which I know is what her brain is supposed to do, but it still makes me sad.  I just keep hugging and bugging her to talk to me.  Even if she doesn't engage, at least she knows I'm still here if she needs me.

Clare is in 4th grade and smart as a whip also.  She doesn't have any strong emotions about school but does seem to enjoy it.  She was in gymnastics but was getting to the point where she either needed to kick it up a notch to get into the competitive teams or be done.  She wasn't passionate about it so we dropped it.  She is still really liking violin and is very good at it. She is at the very, very beginning of her adolescent journey but still loves stuffed animals and minecraft.  We do have some issues with electronics taking over her life so we have to limit her or she'd be on them 24/7.  Still a snuggle bug.

Cooper is 7 now and in first grade.  He doesn't like school.  That's just the plain truth.  But he loves making people laugh, unfortunately he doesn't discriminate between appropriate times to do this and inappropriate times.  Thus he's been getting into a lot of trouble at school.  We're working on it.  I'm afraid it's bruising his self-esteem a bit so we're trying to give him lots of love and support while still being firm about the rules.  He took basketball this year and even though he was far from fluid and proficient, he loved it nonetheless.  We'll be getting a hoop for spring/summer playing.

Scott is still plugging away at work.  He volunteered to be assistant coach for Catie's BB team so I haven't seen much of him since November!  But I'm super happy about the time he's spending with his daughter on something they both love.

I'm still working for Stafford Family Realtors writing their blog.  I also just started working as a communications assistant for our church.  I am still adjusting to the added hours and balancing all the house and family stuff.  We'll get there.  I'm also serving in Women's ministry as a co-leader.  Busy but good.

We added a cat (Leopard) and a dog (Moto) to our family this year.  Leopard was a one-year-old stray that we took it.  We were basically lodging in cold weather and a food source.  He was never very cuddly, but we still loved him.  He ended up catching a deadly virus and we had to put him down just a couple of weeks ago.

Moto is about 7 months old now.  This picture is pretty old.  He looks almost like a full grown golden retriever now.  He's sweet and chews up anything he can.  Very fun and loving.  A great fit for our family.

That's about it.  A written synopsis for posterity.  Maybe the kiddos will read it someday.  Or maybe it will get lost in the ether.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A New Home For Us

We've been a busy family!  After a very COLD April and May which found us tromping throught the snow and muck to look at myriad houses, we finally found one to buy.   We spent most of May packing up and getting ready to move, and most of June unpacking and trying to find a spot for everything.  But first, let's take a look at that cold April, shall we?

April SNOW Showers

For those of you who didn't know, my birthday is on April 18th.  I always remember by birthday as a bright green time, with flowers sprouting and warm breezes blowing.  My sweet husband greeted me in the morning with this birthday message.

Yes, folks, those are q-tips.

But as I looked outside, this is what greeted me...on my birthday....which is April 18th....SPRINGTIME!!

As you can see, the snow continued all throughout the day and evening and into the next day as well.  Sigh.  But just 11 days later, this is what our yard looked like.

What was left of our awesome qhinzee.

Spring finally did come and now we're into summer even though that has been colder than expected as well.  But we did manage to finally hit 90 degrees yesterday.  It was heavenly!


Cate and Clare were able to showcase the skills they've been learning in gymnastics this year at the Spring Fun Meet.  They both did great and had a lot of fun.

Cate and Clare waiting to perform

Clare on the bars

Cate on the bars

Clare receiving her medal.
Mother's Day and Fish Squeezing

By May all the snow was gone and we had a purchase agreement in place.  We had started packing but took the day off to celebrate Mother's Day.  And how do you celebrate Mother's Day in the Northwoods, you may ask?  Why you go to lunch and then watch some fish being squeezed, of course!  My family treated me to a wonderful lunch at Florio's.  Note the northwoods decor.  You can't get away from it up here but it's cozy and nice.  Here I am with all my monkeys.

Then we went to the Cut Foot Sioux spawning sight to watch the MN DNR collect walleye eggs to promote healthy fish populations in MN lakes.  You can read more about that operation HERE.

The ice wasn't even all the way out on the lakes but the fish were ready to go!  They have quite a system.

They net as many walley as they can then separate out the males and the females...don't ask me how they know. 

Then they grab a female and literally squeeze the eggs out of her and into a bucket with a little lake water.  Then they throw her back into the lake.

Then they grab a male and squeeze his sperm into the bucket then swirl the concoction to promote fertilization.  They throw the males back into the net.  There aren't as many males as females and they can use the males for several more days (the operation runs about 10 days).

After a minute or two, they pour the fertilized eggs into a sieve system and gently clean the fertilized eggs before depositing them in a cooler of lake water.

Next year maybe you can be lucky enough to watch the fish squeezers for your Mother's Day Celebration!  In all seriousness, it was a beautiful day to be outside, it was an interesting operation for this biologist to watch, the kids thought it was cool and we played at a park afterwards.  It was a very nice way to spend the day.

After that, it was time to get serious about packing.  We worked into the night many times but got everything boxed and loaded on time and had a day to clean out the house before we left. 

Our New House

And then we were off to our new house across town.   Here are some pictures of our new place.  We have a lot of plans for the place which will take some time, but for now we're pretty content.

Front of house

A workshop for Scotty!

Our side yard...nice big yard!

Our big backyard and garden...soon to be a much bigger garden!

The new pool we just bought the kids to keep them occupied while mommy unpacks.

This is the view out our front windows.  Very park-like but it's someone's yard!  We have no houses in front of us or behind us.

Clare at the kitchen island with the breakfast mess.

Our kitchen

Our living room/entertainment center

Our Deck

Our basement family room

We did manage to go camping one weekend near the twin cities at William O'Brien State park to attend my cousin's wedding reception.  And we managed to make it to our lake property for a day, too.  But I couldn't find the camera at that time so no pictures. 

We are getting to know our neighbors and so far we like everyone.  The kids have found another little girl who lives down the block and it looks like they will all become good friends. 

The kids have been keeping busy with and volleyball for Catie and College For Kids for all of them.  Cooper will start up T-ball in July and then they will all go to VBS at the end of July.  Why oh why doesn't anyone have any camps in August!!??  That's when mammas are really going nuts and need the break!  Oh well.  We'll probably camp a lot in August.  We should be mostly unpacked by then and have a few projects under our belts.

We would love it if anyone wants to come visit us this summer!  We are just one block away from Pokegama Lake boat landing so bring your boat.  We may try to invest in a pontoon for ourselves this year.  When you're so close, why not!?

Enjoy the warm weather.  We definitely are!!