Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Other Twin Cities (part 2!)

Saturday morning, without fail, the boys did not sleep in. I knew the local berry picking farm opened at 7am, so we were first to arrive. The boys have a summer bucket list from their pre-K teacher, and berry picking has not yet been crossed off (also- I personally have never been berry picking, so I thought why not?!) We had so much fun!

 And they tasted SO good!!
 It was Hastings' Rivertown Days, so we enjoyed some of the events on Saturday. This included boat races- which once they finally started - were pretty cool to watch. 
 A church hosted a 10 cent carnival. The best 70 cents on 5-year-old's entertainment I have ever spent!! A dime was the cost of each game, and they won tickets for playing. The tickets were then used to purchase prices. They got several items including a DVD to watch on the way home. If it hadn't been way after lunchtime- we would have stayed longer. 

The other rush of getting back to the Anderson's was getting down to the river! While waiting for Carlson's boat to arrive at the dock, the kids loved swimming in the river and diving for muscle shells. 
 You really can't beat boating and tubing, especially on the river with friends.  
 THANK YOU Dan and Heather for sharing your boat and your Saturday with us. 
A truly delightful day. 
Another bonus of the day is our friend Ashley came to visit. 
We four girls have known each other for....drumroll...31 years. 
(clearly if you do the math- we met before we were born!) 
Sunday we departed the Anderson's and had breakfast near a waterfall in Hastings. 
 Then we met Aunt Laurie in downtown Minneapolis-St. Paul at Minnehaha Falls for a picnic lunch (compliments of Trader Joe's!) Of all the years I have visited the Cities, I have never been to the falls. Another must-see as the park is huge and includes a splash park, lots of trails, and of course a great view of the falls. 

We then stopped at Como Zoo. The boys were very excited to ride the shuttle from the fairground's parking lot to the zoo. A tip from Heather that I would highly recommend!
 After visiting all the animals, our final stop was the carousel. What a great way to end our adventure-filled weekend!! I enjoyed creating so many memories with the boys in the Twin-Cities that I grew up with!

The Other Twin Cities! (Part 1!)

When we moved to Bloomington-Normal, my ears would always perk up when people talked about the Twin Cities......then I would realize nope, they were not talking about Minneapolis-St. Paul! I explain to people that Minneapolis is like the Chicago of where I grew up--we would always go there a couple times a year, that's where we school-clothes-shopped, and that's where several of my friends moved. I still think it's a fun place to visit--just a little further down the road now!

My weekend plans changed from traveling to SD to stopping and staying in MN with just the boys and me. My friends Jenny and Heather and their kiddos met us at the Minnesota Children's Museum in St. Paul. These 7 kiddos had a blast at the newly renovated museum. I would highly recommend this stop if you're in the area. 
One of the areas was a green room that allowed kids to climb the walls and also change the background on the screen so they could be in space or climbing city buildings. Evan loved being on TV--he's the one in the middle with his arms up. 
 The water play area was a 'car wash' where kids could clean big tractor wheels, windshields, etc. I then heard we were headed to the face-painting area.....I was surprised to find out it was all designed for kids to paint their own or each other's faces. What a fun space. Jaden attempted to be camouflaged. 
There was a room that had dot stickers kids could use to decorate everything- even a piano! 
Can't forget to play with the blocks! 

A big thanks to the Carlson's for having us over after the museum for some outdoor playtime. Everything eventually got wet with the sprinkler- but it was a guaranteed great time!!
 An even bigger thanks to the Anderson's for having us stay overnight. The boys ended the evening with a bike ride and an attempt to conquer the super-big hill by Grant's house. We live in a very flat area compared to Hastings! 
Friday we hung out with the Carlson Clan in the morning. The kids swam in Lake Elmo, enjoyed a snack break, and played at a huge park area. If it hadn't started sprinkling, we could have stayed all day. A really relaxing area that I had never been to---hard to believe it was so close to the city. 
 We took an afternoon road trip to Rochester, MN to visit my good friend, Michelle. We couldn't visit without a stop at Flapdoodles for the best ice cream ever! A huge menu of choices, and my boys both pick chocolate. Whatever, I had salted caramel pretzel AND cookie monster! So delicious. 
 We had originally planned to visit the Rochester branch of the MN Children's Museum, but after stepping inside, we realized it was not worth it (even with our reduced rate as museum members!) It was a small store-front and looked like a day care inside- a disappointment after St. Paul's museum. Instead we got out the boys' bikes and walked along the beautiful Zumbro River area. It was around this spot Evan thought he saw an alligator and totally made his trip to Rochester worth it!
 Back in Hastings we ended the night with a trip to the park. 
Grant, Miles, Evan and Jaden got all of their energy out before bed!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Staycation - AKA a Weekend at home!

July 14th weekend!
What a perfect weekend at home! The summer can get busy with traveling, so every now and then a weekend at home with no plans is refreshing. Of course, we find things to fill our time. Trying to live out the message in a sermon I recently heard, I carefully chose not only the things I did, but the order I did them. The big choice I made was to spend lots of time with family, as my work can wait until Monday morning (along with the emails and social media scrolling!)
At the end of the week, I had a lunch date with Evan and Jaden. They have never been to Steak n Shake (okay, so clearly we've done happy hour shakes, but have never actually eaten there), so a stop there on the way to the dentist clearly seemed appropriate. 
 Their kindergarten check up at the dentist passed with the prediction that Evan's bottom two teeth will fall out in the next two weeks! Yikes, the Tooth Fairy better get a plan together. 

The boys had a playdate with their former Pre-K class on Friday. It was priceless to see how excited the kids were to see each other again!
After the Fun Run, it was Movie Night! We popped lots of popcorn for the long movie - Harry Potter #3 as Evan called it. Wow, did Evan ever get the Schumacher gene of loving action filled movies! I did find other things to do during movie time:)
 Saturday morning Nathan and I both fit in some workout time as I began the day with an early morning run with a group we started running with back in 2004! What a great group to keep me motivated. I got a bonus workout  - yoga at the new Destihl part was everyone got a free drink afterwards. 
 She clearly has brothers! Bugs, bugs and more bugs. 
 Lots of pool time both Saturday and Sunday! 

On Sunday I rode my bike to Lake Bloomington with a group of friends and grabbed a quick bite before turning around to come home. I kept my cycling gear on and grabbed the boys for a ride on the trail. I got lots of practice clipping my shoes in and out while riding with these two:) But it was fun to create a new adventure with them on part of the trail they don't typically visit. Yes, I snuck fruit snacks along!
I picked a restaurant that seemed laid back which was also a place our family had not yet eaten at before. (We like to try all the restaurants in our area at least once). Lake Road Inn is an oldie but goodie that I had found during a bike ride, and lucky for us, tonight they had karaoke! Great entertainment for the kids, and.......
Nathan even sang! He did an excellent job singing Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers!
 We played at the lake a bit before heading back to town. 
 What a perfect weekend filled with lots of playtime!