post weekend

Post (Iowa Trip) Weekend

I made my first trip to Iowa for the Fourth of July ten years ago. Ten. 1-0. Tyson and I met a decade ago, started dating within a matter of weeks, and made the trip to Iowa together a week or so later. That my mother let me go to Iowa to meet the family of a guy I had just barely met myself is still a little baffling to me, but ten years, almost seven years of marriage, a mortgage, and three kids later, and it looks like it's worked out okay.

That first trip we passed the time of that four-hour drive listening to music (CDs) and stand-up comedy (tape adapter), and there was absolutely, positively no stopping allowed. 

Our drives look a little different these days. Instead of stand-up, we sing along to the soundtrack of Moana. We make the trip in a minivan emblazoned with one of those love-em-or-hate-em family stickers on the back window instead of a slightly rusty Oldsmobile. And we've picked up a few tips along the way.

Tip #1: Stopping isn't so bad after all.

Rest stops FTW. And who needs toys when a strip of colored concrete becomes a road in their imagination? "Beep beep! I'm a car!"

Tip #2: SNACKS.

So many snacks.

Tip #3: It's good to have some helping hands when you're trying to take photos with a horde of children.

Success! (Mostly.)

Tip #4: Uncles that don't mind toddlers joining in on their lawn games are the best.

No tip here, but according to these two, the hymnal at Grandma and Grandpa's church isn't filled with songs about Jesus, but the Moana soundtrack.

Maybe the tip is that a hymnal and a Bible without pictures can still keep them occupied? Works for me.

Tip #6: It's best to have a new baby cousin around for giggles and snuggles.

Tip #7: Bubbles. We are all about the bubbles.

Tip #8: When the power goes out due to a renegade squirrel before 8 am on the Fourth of July, you move outside for a chalk party in your pajamas in the driveway.

Tip #9: Matching outfits. Because: obviously.

Tip #9: When hosting 40+ people for the Fourth, get yourself a big grill. And a grillmaster with an impressive beard.

Tip #11: When a good percentage of those said 40+ people are small children, and it's 90+ degrees outside, break out the water.

And tip #12: When Minnesota's Largest Candy Store is on your route home, and everyone in the car is awake, and you've already been driving for approximately ALL OF THE HOURS (okay, so like 4 1/2), you STOP.

And you get some candy.

And some may be so overwhelmed by the candy, or the freedom, or the sheer excitement of it all, that they literally run through the store shrieking happily at the top of their lungs. Acting just like, well, a kid in a candy store.

Post (Madison!) Weekend

We'd been scheming for awhile on a trip back to Madison sometime this year, probably in May or June. Then a couple of months ago, we received an invite for a friend's graduation party which was this past weekend. That sealed the deal. A kill-two-birds-with-one-stone kind of thing. We began planning where we wanted to go, which old stomping grounds to revisit, where to eat, who to see.

In all the ways I thought the weekend might go wrong: kids melting down over crazy schedules, sleepless nights in a different place, car trouble, etc., the thought that the weather might completely crap out on us never even crossed my mind. 

Guys, the weather completely crapped out on us.

Rain and cold and wind and awful and it basically felt like March. A terrible day in March. Saturday, our only full day in Madison and the day of our friend's OUTDOOR party, was just the worst. The twins cried basically the entire 40 minutes we were at the event because they were so cold and miserable. Tyson had to take them into our van with a plate of food just to get out of the wind and the cold. Other people were showing up with their kids dressed in full winter gear: hats, puffy coats, gloves. Guess what I didn't pack for a weekend trip to Madison at the end of May? Anything at all required for winter. Especially since when I was packing, on Thursday, the forecast was 70 degrees and rainy, but by Friday morning as we were driving, (aka TOO FREAKING LATE), the forecast had dropped to 50 degrees and rainy. Plus wind. Cool.

It killed most of our plans. No outdoor farmer's market, no trips to the park, no beer garden visits, not a chance of even taking a walk. All of our favorite Madison things are outside! Oh well. We're taking this as a sign to plan another trip soon.

The weather did give us some indoor library time at one of our favorite spots. Caden and Brooklyn basically learned how to slide on this very slide, yet when Brooklyn saw it she said, "Oh wow, there's a slide in here!" The way she said it was surprised, like she had completely forgotten. Which, I mean, she probably had, but my heart still broke just a little.

Meeting, or as the case may be, re-meeting, friends, both old...

...and new.

Sunday. We had a small window of time after church before we headed out of town. It wasn't the warmest weather in the world but it wasn't raining. We'll take it. We headed over to The Terrace.

Now this...

...this felt like we were in Madison.

(Did I wear these on purpose? The answer is a definite yes.)

(Did I wear these on purpose? The answer is a definite yes.)

(Do these look a little  familiar ?)

(Do these look a little familiar?)

"I want to go in one of those boats!" is all Caden kept saying. With our current Moana-obsession, his entire life's goal now is to ride in a sailboat. Though he did launch into an entire "How Far I'll Go" musical theater routine when he was on the dock with Tyson. (Sadly not caught on video.)

I'm happy to report that the ice cream is still as good as ever.

As is the beer.

You really can't terrace anywhere else.

Post (Mother's Day) Weekend

Can't Mother's Day be on a Saturday? Or could we have the Monday after off, too, please? Jumping back into real life again right away on Monday seems kind of harsh after such a beautiful, pampering, celebratory sort of weekend. An extra day to cushion the blow would be so helpful.

And WHAT a weekend. Can we pause and take a moment to talk about the weather for a sec? This was like actual summer weather. MY ARM GOT SUNBURNED. (No, not plural. only one, because only one arm was in the sun. It's super attractive.) Minnesota, you've been kind of sucking in the spring weather department lately, but I'll give you full credit for this weekend.

A few snippets:

Impromptu zoo trip on Friday afternoon.

Impromptu zoo trip on Friday afternoon.

Self, in a few years when you start to feel sad that they are all grown, just remember how often you had to push a 90+ pound double stretch-limo of a stroller around. Praise the miracle that is them walking all on their own. Feel better? No? Maybe? Good.

Self, in a few years when you start to feel sad that they are all grown, just remember how often you had to push a 90+ pound double stretch-limo of a stroller around. Praise the miracle that is them walking all on their own. Feel better? No? Maybe? Good.



Saturday passed, with some fun as some friends and I snuck away to treat ourselves to a pedicure. Which also turned into manicures. Because who wanted to go home already? Also: too busy getting pampered for pics. 

Switch gears. I want you to picture that it is Sunday. Mother's Day. Picture breakfast in bed. Except your husband doesn't cook. And your kids are certainly too young to even successfully pour cereal and milk into a bowl. But they still want to give you the breakfast in bed experience. Your only real request was iced coffee. Oh, and you also don't own any fancy pants breakfast trays. Oh yes, your breakfast in bed might look something like this:

And it was delicious.   Is that a high chair tray, you might ask? YES. Yes it is.

And it was delicious.

Is that a high chair tray, you might ask? YES. Yes it is.

Caden and Brooklyn got to sit with me in bed while I dined, though they may have snuck more than their fair share of hashbrown bites. They were quite helpful, telling me to, "take a bite, mommy!" "now take a sip of your coffee!" every five seconds, not concerned about basic physical functions like chewing what was already in my mouth before pushing me to eat or drink more. The second I was done it was all about the presents. They could hardly contain their excitement and Brooklyn already had her present for me partway open before I even got downstairs.

"Wow Caden, did you pick this out yourself?"


"Why did you pick this out?"

"Because I wanted it."

Fair enough.

Again, the WEATHER. Can we bottle it up and keep it this way? For the next six months or so?

Again, the WEATHER. Can we bottle it up and keep it this way? For the next six months or so?

Daughter to a mother and mother to a daughter.

Daughter to a mother and mother to a daughter.

Hello, sunburned arm.

Hello, sunburned arm.

Today was right back into the thick of it. Back to tantrums and kisses, play dates and sibling feuds, crumbs and (not enough) caffeine. 

But I wasn't kidding about needing that three day weekend. 

Post (Easter) Weekend

Easter is made for kids. Most holidays are, I suppose, but the combination of eggs and candy, bunnies and pastels, poofy dresses and bow ties are particularly made for the single-digit set. Add in the springiest of spring weather to celebrate our re-emergence from the chill of winter, and these three lapped up the fun of a full Easter weekend.

Except for maybe the taking pictures part.

(Attempt 1: not bad.)

(Attempt 2: cue weird faces.)

(Attempt 3: not everyone is exactly vertical.)

(Attempt 4: weird faces, part 2.)

(Attempt 5: so close)

(Attempts 6-348 not shown.)
(Attempt 349: Nolan: A+. Caden and Brooklyn: need improvement.)

Our church offered services on Friday night, so we took full advantage of attending at a less busy time to help free up our weekend (so many praise hands). And it's so nice to not deal with the rush of Easter baskets/quick breakfast/fancy clothes/church on Sunday morning. Which also meant that we could attend a birthday party on Saturday.

(Where Nolan flirted with all the lady babies.)

("So, does your mom bring you here often?")

(No seriously, so many lady babies. All the lady babies. Nolan, you get your pick.)

(I mean, we might as well cram all the juice boxes and cake into a weekend already filled with candy, right? Let's just get it all out of the way until the next major holiday/birthday party/desperate attempt at bribery.)
Looking out the window now at the rain, cold, and wind that have taken over, it's a little hard to believe that Easter was only two days ago. I've since packed away much (though by no means all) of the Easter paraphernalia. I swear, Easter is second only to Christmas in the amount of stuff we store. I think it's all those darn eggs.

("You guys, I swear there were only empty eggs in here last night!")

(Discovering that the big kids got all of the good candy.)

("Whut? I'm totally not trying to eat a gummy bear right now.")

(They'll all work together to clean up a spill of bunny crackers.)

(And a little bit later, when they somehow got their little hands on an Easter basket: "We havin a picnic!")

(Dying Easter eggs. Except they were way more interested in the stickers that came in the package.)

(So I dyed some Easter eggs.)

(Rocking the bow tie in the Cozy Coupe.)

(Most of my Easter egg hunt photo attempts of Caden turned out like this.)

(Until he paused because he found an egg filled with some cash money.)

(Not quite sure what's going on, but picking things up and putting them in bags is pretty fun.)

(The aftermath.)

(Don't everyone's Easter celebrations involve watching some hockey?)

After a month of birthdays, quickly followed by a week of the stomach flu, then followed by two weeks of Tyson out-of-town, which led up right into a few days of travel for us, and now Easter under out belts, it feels like the first time things are really getting back to normal in quite awhile. Whatever that means anymore. We're ready to settle into a new normal. One that involves a lot more sunshine, flowers, and all things spring.

(Oh, and also, this:)