7.20.2011

Oh, you will be missed...


Minnesota, you are always so good to me. Each and every time I come home, I am able to pick up right where I left off and go right into my Minnesota routines. Maybe it is because my roots are so firmly planted here, maybe it is because my friends and family are so great, or maybe it is because the "Minnesota nice" attitude surrounds me, but whatever the reason, I am always relaxed and happy when I am here. Most likely, it is a big old combination of all of those things.

For the past nine days, I have been staying with my parents and running around town catching up with family and friends. My younger brother Lucas was in town visiting from Chicago, and my sister and nieces were up from Florida as well. We had such a great time and I am so thankful that we could all be together. I have tried to post frequently while I have been here, but there are still so many little things I want to share. So, here are some of the many highlights of my trip. Enjoy!

Fun at the pool. 
Five years ago, my parents built the house they live in now. And with that house came the most amazing pool. I swear, their pool has some secret magnetic force that pulls me to it each and every sunny day. There is nothing more relaxing than laying on a raft with my Ipod blasting through rock speakers without a care in the world. I love that pool.

I think Reese and Sage love the pool just as much as I do. They had fun splashing, jumping off the steps and pool deck, and riding around on the rafts all week. But their all-time favorite thing was swimming with Grandpa Chuck. Reese would wait by the door for Chuck to get home from work to come swim with her.
Mmm... Corn dogs!
The Minnesota State Fair is one of my all time favorite places/things to do. The first several years I lived in New York (before flights got outrageously expensive), I flew home every August specifically for the fair. Since I started teaching, I have not been able to fly home. Luckily, around that same time, my three little brothers started working at a corn dog stand that sets up at local fairs and market-fests around the Twin Cities. So... I still get corn dogs every time I come home! This trip, my brother Connor was working at Maple Grove Days. I went with my parents to get a corn dog and it was delicious!
Surprise! 
My sister thought there was no way her husband, Todd, could make it up to MN because of his busy work schedule. Meanwhile, we were secretly planning his surprise trip all week and found a flight for him to fly in on Saturday night. On Sunday, when we were all outside swimming, my step-dad Chuck announced that he got a new pool toy. He (awkwardly) rolled down the "toy" on a dolly covered in a sheet, and once he got the toy through the pool gate Todd jumped out! You can almost hear my sister saying, "I knew something weird was going on!" in the picture below. We were all so happy Todd could spend a few days in Minnesota.
Sunday was also the first day that Reese jumped off the diving board. Once Jamie got her to jump once, she couldn't get enough! She still insists that someone catch her every time, which is a really hard thing to do when trying to tread water in the deep end. You essentially have to drown yourself for about a minute while holding her above water. It is a slightly panicking experience, but well worth it once you see Reese's excitement. 
My step-brother and sister -in-law, Chad and Jamie, and Reese and I having fun in the pool. 
Me and my brother Duncan. 
After swimming and eating dinner poolside, we got a fire started and made s'mores. Even though the heat index was well above 100 degrees, we were more than willing to stand near the fire with the reward of ooey-gooey s'mores!
Severe Storms
A trip home to Minnesota would not be complete without at least one severe storm warning. Severe thunderstorms and rotating clouds passed through the cities on Tuesday morning. The skies in Maple Grove were pretty scary looking, but the storms blew over quickly without any damage.
Visiting friends and family
My schedule is always packed with get-togethers with friends and family when I am home. It is always so nice to catch up with friends at our favorite restaurants and to reminisce at my parents house as we look through old pictures and yearbooks. Before my corn dog adventure, I met up with Jill and her fiance, Aaron, at The Original Pancake House. I had not met Aaron before and it was fun to get to talk to both him and Jill about their summer trips and upcoming wedding over bottomless cups of coffee and strawberry crepes. I love that these breakfasts have become tradition for Jill and I.
Monday afternoon my mom and I drove downtown to visit Emerita, my great-grandma's cousin. She has been at every family function and holiday since I can remember, and I love to talk to her about my life in New York and her adventures and travels throughout her life. She is about to be 94 years old, and is still an active member of her apartment community. She gave us a tour of her building's terrace and garden, which she tends to with two other residents. She proudly identified all of the flowers and plants and explained the work that went into the beautiful space. I so deeply admire this woman and the life she has lived.
Sweet treats
My parents' house is a dieter's nightmare! It is constantly full of cookies, candy, donuts, ice cream, and sugary cereals. I am certain that I got my sweet tooth from my mom, who is just as tempted as I am by all of these treats. Reese got in on the action this week and helped Chuck make his famous Rice Krispie bars and helped my mom make her Magnolia cupcakes. Chuck also picked up donuts from Jack's Bakery twice, and I inhaled a few fried, glazed croissants. Needless to say, I will be hitting the gym hard once I return to New York.
Hot summer nights
As weather.com said, the midwest was set on broil this week. Temperatures and dew points reached new records and heat advisories were set for most of my time home. Every time I stepped outside my sunglasses fogged. Pictures were impossible to take most of the time for the same reason. I have never experienced such intense humidity! At one point, the heat index reached 116 degrees. Luckily, we were able to stay cool in the pool most of the time.
This picture was taken pre-heat wave. 
Most nights, we swam into the evening as the sun set and ate dinners wrapped in beach towels with dripping hair and swimsuits. It was perfect.
Thank you to everyone who made my trip home so wonderful!

5 comments :

  1. Looks like a fab trip! It's always so nice to go home when you've been away for awhile. We're hoping to get up to MN in the next few months for my husband to play some shows, I'll have to get some advice on places we have to check out :)

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  2. Your pictures are beautiful and it sounds like you had a nice time home. Just wanted to pop in and tell you a I made your "pregnant cookie" tonight....they are wonderful! Thank you for the recipe!

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  3. Lisa, so glad you enjoyed the pregnant cookies. They are so good! Thanks for the nice comment and hope you keep reading and follow me! Hope you have a great week!

    Daina

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  4. I would like your cute little striped dress, a corndog, smore and a trip to visit your family. What a fun time. Especially in the pool...with real heat!

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  5. I have to ask where did you get your super adorable grey and white striped outfit? Also the little anchor necklace! Do Share!

    new to your blog! :)

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