Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Weekend Recap (x2)

I'm a bit behind, so I decided to cram two weekend recaps into one post. Ready? Here we go!!

How is it already November?! This time I've year I always feel a little torn. I really love the traditions and fun of the holiday season, but I really love fall (and could do without such painfully long and frigid winters). So we're soaking up as much fall fun as we can - the weather has certainly been in our favor as of late.

Two Fridays ago we joined our friends Melissa, Thatcher, and kiddos Azalea and Ashford at the Southwest Community Ed. Halloween Party. Melissa and Thatcher met working for Minneapolis Community Ed., and it's been a staple for them ever since. Thankfully, they were cool with us tagging along!

Linnea was thrilled to be able to be Anna for the night...and equally excited that her pal Azalea was dressed up like Elsa. She kept telling me, "Mama, we're like sisters!" Too cute.

Linnea and Luther before the party...I wish I would have put the reindeer antlers we have on Luther so that he could be Sven. Ha!

Anna and Elsa - aka Linnea and Azalea

Inside the party...before it got busy. Soon after I took this picture, it got PACKED!

The party was really fun. There were lots of fun kiddie games - bowling, a fishing game, a spin the wheel game. The highlight for both girls was the bouncy house - lots of turns were taken in there. Both girls also got their faces painted. I love fun community parties like this!

Face Painting

Fishing Game

They had a raffle drawing as part of the party. After Thatcher won a prize almost immediately, I decided to give it a try. So I put my name on one ticket, and Linnea's on another (just to be fun). No and behold, Linnea's name got drawn! Turns out that if an adult's name gets drawn, they won almost gift cards (sometimes multiple gift cards), but it a kid gets their name drawn, they get little toys. DOH! I know it shouldn't be a big deal, but I was bummed. It helped that Linnea was excited about her new Curious George stuffed animal, play doh, and little toy bugs, but man, a gift card (or two or three) would have been nice!

After almost two hours at the party, it was clearly time to go. Both girls were starting to meltdown (not winning cookies at the cookie walk did them both in). So we called it a night. We all had a wonderful time, and hope to make it an annual tradition. Thanks again, Imbodens!

Me and Linnea after the party

Two Saturdays ago, we met up at the apple orchard with the "Kensington Boys" and their families. The Kensington Boys are the guys that Jeromy lived with after college (before we got married). They are all friends from Luther, and still are some of Jeromy's (and my) best friends. Their wives (mostly Luther people too) and their kiddos are equally awesome, and we all have a really good time together. Unfortunately we were without two of the wives - Christy and Annie - because of other commitments, but the rest of the crew was there to have fun!

We almost had the orchard to ourselves, because it was their last weekend open. The apples were pretty picked over, but we still managed to find some good ones!

Aaron and Josiah

Linnea and Amelia enjoying the tire swing

Gavin and Linnea checking out the chickens

Ian and Linnea driving one of the tractors


Amelia and Linnea on the tractor...

Happy girl...

Time for a tractor ride!

Linnea and her apple haul

Jackie getting in some baby snuggles with Josiah

All the kiddos! Pretty darn cute if I do say so myself!

The boys. Such good buddies. They make me smile!

I love this one of Linnea and Amelia!!

Riding tractors...

Josiah on the tractor

And of course, Linnea had to check out the swing...

Wow! That was a lot of pictures to say. Needless to say, we had a great time. After the orchard, most of the group went to Chik-Fil-A for lunch, and then headed home for nap.

By the time we got home, it was a little past nap time, so Linnea ended up sleeping longer than usual. This ended up being a BIG bummer, because we had planned to go to a big "Halloween Hoopla" geocaching event. Per our plan, Jeromy went after lunch, and I stayed home with Linnea. I waited. And waited. And waited. It wasn't until a little after 4:00 that she woke up. The event went until 5:00. And was about 30 minutes away. We tried desperately to make it, but it just wasn't in the cards. I was really, really bummed. Jeromy had a pretty good time, and I'm glad he was able to go. I was just hoping that Linnea and I would be able to join him as planned.

Thankfully, the afternoon wasn't a total loss. Since we were up close to where my cousin and his family live, we stopped there for dinner. Unfortunately, my cousin was working, but we had a fun evening with his wife Sarah and their three girls. We cooked hot dogs over a fire outside, the girls had fun playing, and the grown-ups had a nice time catching up.

Two Sundays ago we went to church. Linnea did well at Sunday school. After church we ran a couple errands, and then went home for lunch and naps.

When Linnea got up from her nap we had some time to kill before our evening plans, so we decided to carve the pumpkin we got from the pumpkin train the weekend before. We hadn't carved pumpkins with Linnea before, so I wasn't quite sure how it would go. But it went well! Linnea helped draw the face. She wasn't too interested in scooping out "the guts," but loved watching the eyes "pop out" when we carved them.

A before picture...

Ready to carve!

"Goop scooping," as we called it...

All done!

Funny faces...

After pumpkin carving, we went over to our friend's Kirstyn and Dave's house for a WOWZA/MANZA dinner. As I've said, the WOWZAs are my dearest friends. Most of us are local to the Twin Cities, but we have a few out of towners. One of those WOWZAs, Bethany, was up from Iowa for a short visit with her two daughters.

We had a really fun night. It was fun to see the girls, and watch them interact. Cecelia (who is just a few months younger than Linnea) and Linnea played pretty well together, and Linnea LOVED playing with baby Marielle. It was good to see everyone, especially Bethany since our visits are less frequent.

Cecelia and Linnea coloring...

Linnea and Marielle
 So sweet!

So that's a wrap on weekend #1 of the recap! Whew! That was a lot...and even more pictures. Are you still with me? Good! Here's weekend #2 of the recap!

This past Friday was Halloween! We had such a fun time.

For the second year in a row, we decided to spend the evening in Eden Prairie. I took off a couple hours, and took the bus to Eden Prairie. Jeromy picked me up, and then we picked up Linnea at Magna's (usually she'd be at my parents' house, but we switched days that week so that Linnea could be at Magna's for the Halloween party). Linnea had had a great day - lots of fun with her little buddies.

After picking Linnea up, we made a pit stop at my mom and dad's. We made a few stops at some of my parents' friends house, and took a few pictures before we were on our way.

My parents and Linnea

For the second year in a row, we went trick-or-treating with our friends Tom and Jackie, and their son Gavin. We enjoyed a quick dinner together before getting ready to head out.


And after!

Despite the chilly weather, we had a great time! The kiddos did a good job taking turns ringing the doorbell, and a pretty good job remembering "their lines" - Trick or Treat! and Thank You!

We had hot chocolate, and a little more play time after trick or treating..

Cheers to a fun night!

After that we headed home, and went to bed - what a fun night!

This past Saturday we had the power company coming out some time between 8 and 10. We have a tree that's been growing between our garage and our neighbor's garage, and it was starting to get in the power lines, which made us nervous.

The plan was for them to come, disconnect the power, then we'd cut the tree down, and they would come back and hook up the power again. I was a little nervous...thinking that if they didn't come out until 10 it might be a crunch to finish everything in time for the wedding we had in the afternoon. Thankfully, it was a much easier process than anticipated! The guy came about 8:45. When I told him, he (without any hesitation) said, "We don't need to cut the power for that! I can take that tree down myself faster than it would take me to disconnect the power!" Sure enough, he got up on the garage with his chainsaw and within 5 minutes or so most of the tree was down and he was on his way! What a blessing! We had been so worried about a time crunch, and we ended up with the morning to ourselves!

We did do a little work in the yard - cleaning up and organizing the brush a bit, but it wasn't a big deal. It was actually nice...the weather was brisk but nice, and we enjoyed spending the time together. Linnea was a good helper.

Me and Linnea, doing yard work in our pajamas and winter coats!

After that, we had time to do a big of shopping (Jeromy was in need of some new clothes), and grab lunch at Panera. As we were on our way home, Linnea crashed and ended up falling asleep for the last 2 minutes of the ride. Somehow, she then thought that nap time was done. Not so, little one! It took her a LONG time to fall asleep. She wasn't crying...just not sleeping. This was not a good day for this to happen, since we had a wedding to go to that started at 4:00 about 35 minutes away. She finally crashed at about 2:40. I woke her up a little after 3:00...or at least tried to. I'm pretty sure she was still half asleep the entire time I was wrestling her in to her outfit. Uff. We got on the road and managed to get to the church JUST in time.

The wedding was short and sweet. The bride, Kate, is my godsister (her mom is my godmother, and my mom is her godmother), and I've known her her entire life. It was awesome to see her so happy and in love.

After the wedding we headed to the reception. It's was the first wedding reception Linnea was invited to that she was actually old enough to go to and enjoy.

 Ummm...guys...when did she become a teenager??

A highlight was that they had a photo booth at the wedding. Oh my, was that fun. Here's a little peek at Linnea's ensemble. Ha ha ha!

Unfortunately, the dinner got a bit delayed, so it got much later than we hoped. We managed to make it through dinner and about 2 songs of the dance before we had to head home. Linnea got a little loopy, but she did okay. It was super cute because I'm pretty sure she was convinced that Kate was a princess. She was absolutely enamored. She would run over and asked if her dress twirled, if she would dance with her, etc. etc.

I really wish we could have stayed longer because girlfriend TORE UP the dance floor. She spinned. And spinned. And spinned. So cute.

We made it home and promptly crashed. It was quite awesome the way that it worked out because Linnea was so wiped she slept until 7:30, even with the time change. WIN!!!

Sunday morning we got up and ready for church. Linnea did AWESOME at Sunday school. We both dropped her off, and she went right in without turning back. Woo hoo! After church we made a quick stop at Costco, and then went home for lunch/nap.

While Linnea napped, I met up with my dear friend Jackie. We had coffee, and then went for a nice walk. We have been friends for half our lives! What a blessing. I treasure those moments and conversations.

After I got home we hung around the house, ran another errand or two, and it was off to bed to face another week.

Whew! Did you make it? That was a much longer post than intended. Man, we had a really good last couple weekends!! I hope you are having a great week, friends!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Weekend Recap

Another beautiful Fall weekend in the books. Holy cow. God has been doing some good work lately! The colors and the weather has just been GLORIOUS!!! Have I mentioned that I LOVE Fall?!

On Friday, Linnea spent the day (and night) with my in-laws, which allowed Jeromy and I to have a MUCH needed date night. We had such a wonderful night. We went to Brasa, one of our favorite local restaurants and had a really nice dinner. We are never disappointed by the food, and it was so nice to just sit and talk. It made me very aware of how easy it is to fall into the crazy chaos of the day to day routine, and not make time to just sit and talk. We really enjoyed each other's company and enjoyed having the time to slow down and talk. After dinner we took a walk and grabbed a few geocaches close to the restaurant. (We are getting closer to 1,000 - a little over 50 left!).

It was WONDERFUL to sleep in on Saturday morning. We didn't get up until after 8:00. Once we got showered and ready, we headed in the direction of Wisconsin to meet up with my in-laws. They took Linnea (and our nieces, my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and her boyfriend) on the Pumpkin Train, a seasonal train ride that runs from Osceola to Dresser. Jeromy and I decide to just meet the group in Dresser, where they made a little "pumpkin patch" and had tractor rides, a bonfire, bouncy houses, and more.

We met up with the group around 10:30 and (after a little meltdown time from Linnea - what is it with kids totally being great for everyone else but their parents??!) we had a blast! The kids each got a pumpkin, we took a tractor ride, roasted marshmallows, and rode a little trolley on the tracks. It was a ton of fun.

There was a passionate, yet short-lived love affair with Linnea and a Caramel Apple Sucker.

Me and my girl!

Linnea and our nieces McKenzy and Lille

The girls on the tractor ride

Jeromy (and an uncooperative Linnea), my sister-in-law Gracia, and her boyfriend Tyler

Jeromy and Linnea in the little trolley ride

Happy girl in the trolley

Off they go in the trolley!

The tractor, with lots of Fall fun in the background

Another beautiful Fall day!

Here comes the train!

The group minus Jeromy and I took the train back to Osceola. We drove back, snagging a couple geocaches, and met up with them at Subway for lunch. By the time we were done with lunch, it was past nap time for Linnea so in about 2 minutes this was the scene...

On the way home I decided that I wanted a haircut, so we went straight to the salon from the road. Linnea woke up when we got there, but despite a busy morning and short nap, she did okay. She and Jeromy enjoyed reading the magazines in the lobby area.

We got home and shortly after received an impromptu invite to go to our friends' Melissa and Thatcher's for dinner. We gladly accepted. Since we had a bit of time to spare after Linnea's car nap/my haircut, we decided to do some geocaching. It was such a great afternoon!

Cheesin' for the camera...

Coming to get me!

It always fun to explore through the woods. This particular day we found the coolest tepee!

We thought it was pretty cool.

Ta da!

After finding a few geocaches, we headed over to Melissa and Thatcher's. It's so fun that Linnea and Azalea have become such good buddies. They ran around happily, shared well (or as well as 3-year-olds share), and had a ball. At one point we realized they were sitting in a dark bedroom. When we came in and turned on the lights we got scolded because they were pretending to be putting each other to bed. We had a nice night of pizza, conversation, and good friends.

On Sunday we got up and headed to church. We had expected another day of Sunday School for Linnea, but realized that it was "Everybody Worship Sunday." One Sunday in the month Sunday School is closed to give families the opportunity to worship together (I love that!). After church we ran a few errands, and then headed home for lunch and nap.

While Linnea napped, my friend Sus and I went to a college classmate's funeral. For those who live in the Cities, you likely heard the news story of the young man who went missing in Medicine Lake. After a weekend of searching, the search and rescue crews of the metro area found his body. Cause of death - accidental drowning. I met the man, Paul, my freshman year at Luther. Although we didn't know each other very well, we hung out with a lot of the same people. He was really an awesome guy, and it's just all so sad. Such a wonderful life, cut way too short in such a tragic way. 

I was glad that we went, even though we didn't know Paul super well. It was good to be there as a support for the family, and for our friends who were closer to him. It was a really beautiful service - very personal with wonderful music. A nice tribute. And although it was an awful reason to have a class reunion of sorts, it was nice to see many classmates there. 

From the funeral, I made my way to church for our Faith Group. We had a pizza/costume party/playdate. It was a little chaotic with so many kids, but we had a good time spending time in fellowship - and the kids had a really great time playing. I wish I had a picture of all the kids in their costumes, but I got there too late, so I just have this action shot. 

It was a great weekend. I hope you had fun too!