Adventure Isn’t Always Fun
HomeAway.com – The Rental
A Shark in Minnesota? Bartz Snow Sculpture 2013

Adventure Isn’t Always Fun

 Adventure Isn’t Always Fun

Adventure Isn't Always FunThis past Friday, Dash had surgery.  It was just a simple procedure–one ear tube–and this was his fourth time going in for it.  It was all very routine.  His surgeon was great, and we trusted him.  I knew it wouldn’t take very long.  I was fairly confident that there would be no complications.

Why was I nervous then?

Because the last time, Dash had this procedure done, he was two.  He is now five.  There is a lot of growing up that is done in those three years.  You become more aware of your surroundings and less trustworthy–all which is good and appropriate.  But it makes the unknown much scarier.

I was nervous that my big guy was going to be scared.  And like most mothers I can’t handle it when my kids are scared, and I have to leave them in that situation to figure it out on their own.

But I can’t always make it better.  I have to let go–there is no other choice–and watch them walk some journeys alone. I can’t take away their fears or give them anything more than I already have given.

I come up short by 100 every time.  There’s always one more thing I could have told them, one more prayer I could have prayed, one more hug I could have given them.

Even though I walk as far as I can with them, there will always be that last step with me and their first step alone.  It isn’t pleasant, but it’s necessary.

I hate it.

But I want to be strong for my kids. So what do I do?  I push aside the fear and try to trust.  I try to trust God.  I try to trust that I’ve done everything I can.  I try to trust that my kids are strong.  And I try to trust that if I downplay what I’m feeling, it will be less scary for them.

And sometimes that works.



I mean, look at this face!

It’s like he’s saying, “piece of cake, Mom!”


And I did walk with him as far as I could.




I walked into the OR, I held his hand as they put him under, and I kissed his cheek right before his procedure.

Then, I waited for him.  Seven minutes later, he was back.  As he woke up, the doctor came in with good news.  His ear is doing much better.



And then, when he was awake, I was there ready to feed him a popsicle (thank you, Children’s Hospital).







Four hours after we arrived at the hospital, we left.  All smiles.  It was like nothing even happened.  I was so grateful for the staff at Children’s Hospital for being so low key and attentive and soft spoken and sweet.  They really do take care of you there.  I was allowed in the OR until he was put under.  I was able to kiss his cheek, and then I was led back to my room.  044

Not everyday can be fun and exciting, but everyday is an adventure and another day to show our kids we care.



HomeAway.com – The Rental

HomeAway.com HomeThe week after Christmas was busy for the Kordatzky Family.  We had family visitors in town from Wisconsin and North Carolina, and instead of packing everyone into our little house, we decided to get a rental 5 miles away using HomeAway.com.

My husband kept calling it a condo from the moment we booked it.

“Honey,” I told him, “it’s not a condo.  I’m pretty sure it’s far from that.”

But alas, he insisted on calling it a condo, and  then he stopped–as soon as he walked into the space.

Our Rental from HomeAway.com

Wood-panelled walls greeted us upon arrival, a crowded living room was smashed with three futons, and green plastic shelves were placed strategically throughout the rental.  The kitchen was fine, but it wasn’t as spacious as we had perceived it to be.  The bathroom was well supplied with towels and working plumbing, but the heater looked to need replacing and all the towel racks were well above my head including the one for a hand towel.

It had three spacious bedrooms; two of them with sleep number beds although one did seem to not work properly. And it was warm. Very warm, in fact which was nice because our house is not known for retaining  heat, and with family from North Carolina, the warmth was very welcome on the bitter cold days after Christmas (the North Carolinians were able to escape the artic BLAST by leaving on Sunday morning).

It was nice not to have twelve people packed into our house for four days.  And it was nice to have a bigger kitchen to use besides our little galley kitchen.  It was especially nice to be able to be warm,  and it was clean.  Most importantly we were together.

Recommendations for Anyone using HomeAway.com

However, I came away from this experience with a few of recommendations.

  1. If you are going to rent from HomeAway or other sites like this, and you have the ability to look at the space in person, do it before making any financial commitments.  Like I said, it wasn’t bad, but it was a bit crowded–much less room than we were hoping for. 
  2. If the owners ask a favor of you like showing the space while you are occupying it (hypothetically, of course), and it’s going to disrupt your plans, be upfront about it.  I am so Minnesotan (married to a family of other upper Midwesterners) and instead of just saying that it would bother us, I grumbled and shot them an email saying, “sure!  This is when we will be out of the rental….”  I should have said, “That’s not going to work for us because we are coming and going throughout the day.”  I suggest being completely honest.  What’s the worst that could happen?  They never rent to you again?  I highly doubt that would happen.
  3. If you are uncertain about a property because of its location, it’s photos, or other reasons and you are unable to personally see the space, it’s okay to go with your gut.  Unless it’s the last space available (which for us, it basically was), there will be other choices, and it’s okay to say no.
  4. If you are dissatisfied with the accommadations, make sure you contact the property owners to let them know.  But be kind.  More than likely, they are managing many properties or this is their personal home.  Either way, they need to know about your experience to make necessary changes for the future.  (Disclaimer:  I have yet to do this).
  5. Remember what’s most important is being together.  My husband and I have stayed in some pretty interesting places, together and not together, and I can tell you that the times we were together were much better and more memorable/special than the times we have been apart.

Our time together was fantastic making some great memories and celebrating the season and family.  It meant so much that everyone came to visit us in Minnesota, and it was a blast taking them to places around town that we have featured on Family Fun Twin Cities. Ultimately, I am glad we were able to find room and more space for everyone at a “decent” rate, and we were able to learn so much from this experience.

images courtesy of Ruhama Kordatzy Bahr

A Shark in Minnesota? Bartz Snow Sculpture 2013

Less than a mile from my house is the biggest snow sculpture I have ever seen.  It literally covers an entire front yard. 

And it’s a shark.

Bartz Snow Sculpture 2013

A 16 foot high shark.

Built by 19 year old Austin, 15 year old Connor, and 18 year old Trevor the massive shark is their 2013 labor of snow love.  This isn’t their first endeavor.  In the winter of 2011, the Bartz boys (then 17, 13, and 16) debuted their first work of art — a giant puffer fish — in their front yard.  Last year, they built a 15 foot walrus. And this year their 16 foot shark.

They determined that creating this sculpture has taken them at least 95 hours, and they have been working on it for the past month hauling snow in their sleds from their neighbors’ yards.  Those 95 hours do not include the planning time. They usually  look online for their inspiration.  The guys want something that takes a lot of creativity and is distinguished so as you drive past, you can easily see what it is.  And each year they get bigger.

Bartz Snow Sculpture 2013

Along with building the shark, the Bartz brothers have also created a viewing area for the public, and they welcome the public to come check it out. They love to make people happy, and if there is one thing this shark does is make people happy.

Even my sister-in-law visiting from North Carolina ventured into the subzero temperatures, the shark luring her out of the van and into the elements to get a closer look.

They have been featured on the local news stations and even on the Today Show. 

Bartz Snow Sculpture 20135

Plans are already in the works for next year.    These guys are proof that kids still like to play outside!

Thanks, Austin, Trevor, and Connor for the innocent, creative, and exciting family fun you bring to the Twin Cities

Just take a look at how their Snow Shark Progression Video.


If you want to check out the Bartz’s Giant Snow Shark in person, you can find it on the 2700 block of 16th Street NW in New Brighton, just west of Silver Lake Road.

If you want to see their past creations, you can check out these WCCO Interviews.

The Puffer Fish

The Walrus



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