Thursday, April 19, 2018

Hobbies that Begin with "R" - Blogging from A to Z Challenge

During the 2018 Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I will be focusing on hobbies that I have introduced to my daughters to through their childhood and teen years. Some were done as part of homeschooling, while others were areas that we explored because we were interested in the subject or activity. These are hobbies that anyone of any age could try as well.


There are quite a few hobbies that begin with the letter "R" that Sophia and Olivia have explored through their childhood and teen years: radio; reading; rescuing abused, unwanted, or abandoned animals; robotics; rock climbing; rock collecting; and rockets.


Paige's career is in radio, so a significant part of our lives have revolved around radio, radio promotions, concerts, and meeting performers.

Sophia started going to concerts shortly after she was adopted. Below, she's attending her first Basilica Block Party at 1 1/2 years old.

July 2002

Another highlight for the girls has been getting to meet people they hear on the radio - like Selena Gomez.

February 20, 2010

They have visited radio stations.

February 21, 2010

Gone on business trips with Paige in the country and to Canada.


They met Victoria Justice and Carley Rae Jepsen in 2012 at Mall of America.

October 20, 2012

Sophia cut a commercial for St. Jude at KSON in San Diego.

May 2, 2013 

She and Olivia also met a DJ at KSON. 

May 2, 2013

One year, Sophia was able to meet Matt Nathanson.

July 2013

They attended a radio convention and awards ceremony and met Dave Ferguson who does voiceovers.

April 4, 2014

Paige took Sophia to Jingball - an annual concert sponsored by KDWB.

December 8, 2014 - Jingleball

The girls have attended many concerts at Basilica Block Parties throughout the years.

July 10, 2014

They have gone on vacations and visited radio stations.

October 20, 2016

They have had an interesting and comprehensive insight into the radio industry since they were very young.


Another favorite hobby of ours is reading. Going to the library and checking out armfuls of books was something that we did from the time that the girls were toddlers.

When they were older, they enjoyed reading. Below, Sophia is reading Ferdinand - one of my dad's favorite books when he was growing up. He liked hearing the story read to him by his granddaughter.

August 23, 2010

Whenever we were in the car, the girls would be reading. They would bring plenty of books on trips - such as the one we were taking up north to Grand Marais in June 2011.

June 11, 2011

When we were using the Sonlight curriculum, a huge box of books and resources would arrive each July. The girls were so excited to see the books that they would be using during the upcoming homeschool year. Below, Olivia began reading one of the books as soon as they were laid out on the floor.

July 13, 2012

The girls would read to the dogs. Montague, below, is enjoying listening to a story.

December 3, 2012

Gretel was listening to a story that Sophia was reading to her.

December 3, 2012

Because we value reading and literacy, we partnered with the African Library Project to create a community library in Lesotho, Africa, in 2012 in memory of my dad who passed away on January 5, 2012.

December 4, 2012

We collected over 1,000 books to create the first-ever library for a community.

December 7, 2012

On Olivia's 10th birthday, I was reading some books to her before she went to bed. She wanted one of her favorite books (My Lucky Day) when she was younger read to her.

January 18, 2013

The girls have done a tremendous amount of reading. One of their favorite spots to read is in their beds.

April 16, 2013

Sometimes they get so engrossed in reading that it ends up being well after their bedtime.

April 16, 2013

There have been times when Sophia has stayed up into the early hours of the morning reading a book she doesn't want to put down.

Rescuing Abused, Unwanted, or Abandoned Animals

Although Paige and I adopted Sydne (the Golden Retriever) and Boo (a cat) in the early 1990s, both were not abused or abandoned. Casey was a puppy we adopted from a humane society in the mid-1990s.

January 1, 2008

Then, when we moved to the hobby farm in 1995, rescuing abused, unwanted, or abandoned animals started. This was well before the girls were born. We started with the adoption of two sheep (abuse/neglect situation) and a horse (unwanted).

We added chickens (which were not rescued - we raised them from chicks) and turkeys (given to us by neighbors who no longer wanted them). We saw the flock of sheep and chickens grow from a couple to 23 and over 40 respectively.

We took someone's fish and aquarium since they no longer wanted to take care of them.

At that point, we had quite a few outdoor animals and livestock and only three indoor animals - two dogs and a cat; and the fish.

One day, in the middle of a frigidly-cold winter, a cat wandered onto our property - its ears partially missing because of the cold temperatures. We named her Windchill.

Sydne, by this time, was elderly and in failing health. She passed away before Sophia was adopted in November 2001. Within a few months, at an animal rescue event we adopted Montague. He was about 1 1/2 years old. He and Casey got along very well.

December 2, 2007

As a baby/toddler, Sophia wanted to play with Boo. Boo didn't want to play. So one day - as I was driving home - there was a box at the end of the driveway that said "Free Kittens." There were three kittens that a farmer was going to kill if no one took them. He didn't want them.

I took all three and brought them home. We named them Eenie, Meenie, and Miney. Below is a picture of Meenie on the nativity set.

December 2, 2007

We now had five the two dogs and fish. Our home was full.

We adopted Olivia in November 2003, and when we came back home the dynamics between Boo and Windchill had changed. We gave Windchill to Paige's mom and stepfather. They treated her so well and she had a wonderful, long life with them.

The following summer, we needed to make the difficult decision of re-homing the sheep, chickens, and turkey. The horse (which was elderly) had to be euthanized since she was having trouble standing. So, in 2004, we were back to having only indoor pets.

While Sophia was at Vacation Bible School when she was about 4 1/2 years old, two tiny kittens wandered onto our farm. She named them Maggie and Lucy (after two girls in her VBS class). We searched for the mother, but had no luck. We fed the kittens milk and soft food (they weren't old enough to eat hard food yet). Eventually, we brought them indoors where they would be safer than fending for themselves outdoors. Below, Maggie is sitting by a rose from our garden.

May 20, 2013

Not long after that, another cat - Shadow - wandered onto our farm. He eventually moved into our home during an exceptionally cold winter (-20 degree temperatures for a week).

October 31, 2011

By this time, due to the deaths of some of the cats (old age), we now had five cats. 

June 14, 2011

In March 2008, we adopted Gretel from Northwoods Humane Society after Casey died. Below is Gretel on her adoption day outside of Northwoods.

March 27, 2008

We adopted a miniature horse and Pony of the Americas through the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation. Shortly after we adopted them, the MHARF had a horse show. They arranged transportation so we could participate in it. The girls enjoyed the costume division where the horses and they could dress up. 

September 19, 2009

By this time, things were settling into a routine with the animals, and the indoor animals were a large, happy pack.

December 13, 2009

The horses had transitioned from being in small areas with limited grass (due to being on dry lots in neglect situations) to two pastures where they could gallop, play, explore, and eat. 

May 9, 2010

The horses would follow us around when we did nature studies.

April 30, 2011

In October 2011, my dad went to a nursing home because he was in the late stages of Alzheimer's Disease. Sophia wanted to bring Eenie to the nursing home since my dad enjoyed petting Eenie whenever he visited the farm. It went so well - my dad loved seeing Eenie and Eenie did very well at the nursing home. 

October 20, 2011 - Eenie

That was the beginning of cat therapy. Sophia created a cat therapy program at Christian Community Home in 2012, and Eenie would visit the seniors. Below is Betty - one of the seniors who loved cats, petting Eenie, and visiting with the girls. 

November 22, 2013

Some of the dogs we've had have been great farm dogs, and have enjoyed being helpers. Gretel - just like Sydne, Casey, and Montague - was a good helper. Below she is watching Olivia as she fills a birdfeeder in the backyard.

May 27, 2012

The cats developed close relationships with one another. One day, Montague and Gretel went to get groomed. When they came back, Lucy (the cat) rubbed his face all over Montague. He was so happy Montague came back home.

July 27, 2012

When Gretel died unexpectedly at a young age from a heart attack (the vet believes), we went back to Northwoods Humane Society to find another dog. Cooper was a slightly older dog (though under a year old) who the director felt would be a good match for our family.

February 8, 2013

He joined our family in February 2013.

March 7, 2013

One of the things we enjoy doing with the dogs is taking them on walks. The road below is one that we go on frequently.

March 28, 2013

We have not added any more livestock since 2009. It's just the horses now which is fine.

April 23, 2013

When Montague died, we went back to Northwoods to visit a litter of puppies that were rescued from a high-kill shelter in Texas. The puppies - who were only six weeks old at the time - were very tiny and had been put in the Texas shelter before they were properly weaned from their mother.

We spent time with all the puppies and chose Aspen. We adopted her in May 2014.

May 12, 2014

She and Cooper get along well.

July 3, 2014

During one of Sophia's harp-playing sessions at Northwoods, we spent time with a bonded pair of dogs - Scooby and Danny. Both came from a house where there was domestic violence. The police had brought the dogs to Northwoods.  Although the pair wasn't supposed to be separated, about a week after we were there we found out Scooby had been adopted and Danny left behind.

Five days later, Scooby was returned when the family found out their son was allergic to dogs. We knew that we needed to go in and adopt Scooby and Danny so they could stay together. At 10 and 5 1/2 years old respectively, they had been though enough in their lives. 

So, on January 20, 2017, we brought the dogs home for a "trial period" to see how they got along with Cooper and Aspen. At first it didn't go so well, but eventually it did. 

January 20. 2017

Five days later, we were back at Northwoods filling out the paperwork to adopt both dogs.

January 25, 2017

It's been quite the journey with the pets we've adopted; and our lives have been better because of all the animals we have cared for as a family.


On July 23, 2016, there was a robotics demonstration at the County Fair that we watched.

There was a task that the robot was supposed to do.

The youth programmed the robot and - if the robot did the task - they were happy. The girls watched the demonstration, but didn't express interest in doing anything more with robots. Sometimes just introducing potential hobbies to the girls is enough.

Rock climbing

A hobby that has been a fun part of the girls' childhood is rock climbing. They would climb the huge boulders in Grand Marais whenever we made the trip up north.

June 16, 2006

Olivia would search out any rocks or rock walls to climb.

July 18, 2008

When the girls were older, they did some rock climbing at Interstate State Park in Taylors Falls. Bellow, Sophia is rock climbing.

June 23, 2012

 There were five different climbing areas in this section of the park.

June 23, 2012

At every opportunity, the girls would climb rocks. Here they are at another section of Interstate State Park.

December 1, 2012

The views were magnificent.

December 1, 2012

We made another trip up north in 2013.

June 6, 2013

A year later, we went to Tettegouche State Park and Olivia did another form of rock climbing. In this type of climbing, she was lowered down the cliff over Lake Superior. The goal was to climb back up to the top of the cliff.

July 12, 2014

There were sheer rocks which made climbing up the cliff very challenging.

July 12, 2014

The view from the cliffs was amazing - the clear water (where we could see huge boulders under the surface of the water), rock formations, vegetation along the cliffs, and beautiful beaches as far as we could see.

Rock collecting

The girls started early in their lives with rock collecting. On June 16, 2006, when the girls were 5 and 3 years old, the visited Cut Face Creek in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

Olivia dug her hands in the rocks and would look at which ones she wanted to keep.

Sophia enjoyed scooping up the rocks also on the beach.

Eventually she took her shoes and socks off, and went barefoot on the rocks. Little pebbles clung to her feet.

Near home, Olivia would look for rocks and put them in her cone-shaped purse. If you notice...she picked heavy winter boots to wear with her light summer dress.

June 1, 2008

In September 2008, we visited another beach along Lake Superior. The girls brought their buckets to collect rocks.

September 3, 2008

When Sophia and Olivia were 12 and 10 years old respectively, we went to Banning State Park. Sophia sat down in one section of the park and looked at the rocks. 

June 3, 2013

We also visited Cut Face Creek again. It's a great beach for looking at the rocks - all of which are so smooth from the water and waves.

June 6, 2013

By the time they were done, the buckets would be filled with rocks - large and small.

June 6, 2013


Of all the photos I looked through, the only one I could find of rockets was one of Paige lighting a model rocket along the road. He looks like his face is right over it, but it's actually to the side.

July 24, 2016

I don't think we had any luck with that rocket. For that matter, none of the model rocks have been that successful. They usually go up and then crash back down somewhere that we can't find. 


Red said...

So many things you do with the girls! Love all the pictures of all the activity.

Melanie Crouse said...

Reading is my favorite, always and forever! But as usual, you've got an incredible compilation of hobbies here! I am also a fan of rock collecting. Melanie's Stories

Shirley Corder said...

What an amazing post. It must have taken you hours to complete all these photos! Well done! R is for Retirement"

Emily in Ecuador said...

Way to go with the library! Books are hard to find and expensive here. My neighbor started an after school reading program in a town 10 minutes away from us. It is amazing watching the kids enjoy reading books. She raises funds online to buy books and ship them here.

I know next to nothing about the inner workings of the radio industry so your daughters are way ahead of me!

I grew up on a Minnesota dairy / Angus / crop farm so enjoyed seeing and reading about your animals.

Yes, that rocket photo looks like the shot taken right before disaster struck!

Fun post.

Emily In Ecuador