When Papa and Nama came to town they brought peanut butter cookies, birthday presents, hugs and kisses.
The boys are 4 and 6 (SIX?!) and they know and love their Papa and Nama. Elise is less than a week from being 2 years old and she knows Papa and Nama but sometimes it takes a while to remember that she knows Papa and Nama. I love where we live, and I wouldn’t want to move unless Tim’s work required us to, but seeing the boys run at my parents full speed, jump into their arms and then look down at Elise shyly hiding behind my legs is bittersweet.
Living farther away, living our own lives, is good for us. We get more family time as a family of five (plus Lucy), and that is good for us. It means a lot of weekends spent at home in the pool and DIYing. However, it also means that a trip to see grandparents, aunts, uncles, COUSINS and friends needs to be planned, scheduled and prepped for like a UN visit to a foreign country. Dates need to be agreed upon over countless texts and emails, location needs to be voted on, days of work requested off, and then you have to pack.
Living a 10 hour drive (8 hours if you don’t travel with kids) from my parents isn’t ideal, but it does make for fantastic, fun-packed long weekends when we do get to see them. There is almost a sense of urgency. Maybe not exactly urgency, but definitely “make the most of the time we got”, and we do.
This past long weekend Michael, Patrick and Elise all rode their new bikes. Michael got a new one, Patrick got Michael’s old one and Elise finally claimed ownership of the trike rode by both her big brothers. The boys both were gifted honking horns to attach to their bikes. I think for Christmas I am going to give my folks a doorbell that makes that exact same honking noise. I bet I could find one on Amazon!
Elise opened her horse-themed presents and was so excited about the barn and farm animals that she has insisted on traveling with her cowgirl and horse ever since opening her gift.
Michael got more books about weather to go along with the bike. “You want to know what my favorite bad weather is? Tornadoes!” — says Michael to anyone who will listen
We ate out at Famous Dave’s which has sort of become a tradition. I wasn’t around when the tradition started because I was in labor with Michael. Or Michael had just been born. Not really sure, but somewhere on the timeline of that day, BBQ was eaten. My Dad likes ribs, my mom likes BBQ chicken and Michael loves corn on the cob, so when I was laboring with Patrick, they went to Famous Dave’s again. Twice is all it takes to create a tradition in my family. My parents were not in Cottage Grove the day Elise was born but they were around the week leading up to her birth. Elise was 2 weeks late to the day. If she would have come when she was supposed to, they surely would have eaten at Famous Dave’s the day she was born. But, lucky for this BBQ loving lady, I got to partake in the third round of finger licking food because we adjusted the tradition slightly and ate out before baby came. I am happy to say, I got to enjoy round four too while everyone retold their memories of the fist two rounds. No I am not pregnant and will not be ever again. Traditions have to change with the times. Now we eat and reconnect over food that requires wet wipes and paper towels. An odd place to take a walk down memory lane, but traditions are traditions.
The kids were stoked to invite Nama and Papa to take a dip in the pool and my folks happily obliged. It was hot and I think my Dad had an ulterior motive. You see, my dad is a great swimmer. That was his sport. My sister and I were swimmers. It was the only sport I was ever even close to remotely competitive in. I think my dad had plans to turn my Michael into Michael Phelps in one afternoon. It didn’t work because Michael was too excited to show off his handstand skills, but Papa was able to get Patrick to float on his back with minimal help which every swim instructor at the Y would tell you is a total coup!
Look at that determination. He wanted to make Papa so proud that his focus couldn’t even be broken by a flying, belly flopping, big brother 3 feet away!
Elise had warmed up to Nama by this point and was happy hanging off of her as they took a dip to cool off.
I didn’t take as many photos as I could have. I missed out on a super cute photo-op of the boys teaching their Papa how to play Cut the Rope and Angry Birds. I wouldn’t be surprised if my Dad played a few levels at work today and laughed thinking about the boys’ commentary. Sometimes a mom just has to put down the camera, come out from behind the lens and play. That is what I did for most of this past weekend. However, I was able to get a few good shots during the highlight of the weekend. Our trip to the Science Museum of Minnesota.
I had been to the SMMN when I was younger but I have not been back since then. It is incredible. I was worried that Elise and maybe even Patrick would be too young, and that we should have opted for the Children’s museum again, but I had nothing to worry about. Elise loved it. Patrick said he hated all of it when he was throwing a tantrum when it was time to leave. But like every one of his “end of a long day tantrums”, a little food and a slight raise in his blood sugar brought him back around. After that he continually said, “This is the best day ever!” Michael, well. Do I even need to say how much he loved it? It is a Science Museum. A hands. on. science. museum. The kid asked for science books for his birthday and when he got checks or cash from family members he asked to go to Barnes and Noble to buy more science books. No worries though. I didn’t let him blow all his money on books. The bulk of it went to savings for the endless amounts of education the kid is going to want to go through! He will undoubtedly finish high school and be bummed until he learns that there is still more schooling to be had. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is one of those life long students. Or wait, what do you call people who never want to stop learning but need a paycheck to survive? Oh that’s right, a professor! (sorry Jess!)
I learned more this past Saturday than I did all through school. Michael has learned more in his 6 years than I will probably ever learn.
No flashes were allowed in the Pirates exhibit and everything was dimly lit to preserve the shipwrecked salvage treasures…
including real pirate silver coins!
Did you know that in order to make change Pirates literally cut coins?! The silver was so soft they would just cut a chunk off! Also the piece you see with the hole through the middle is so a pirate could wear the coin around his neck so he wouldn’t lose it. Look at you learning stuff while reading a blog!
You are not the only one learning. Michael schooled a pirate in the category ratings of hurricanes. Possibly my favorite part of the Pirate exhibit were the in-character actors that were scattered throughout the ship wrecked treasures. The pirate photographed below taught Michael the pirate way to shake hands and in return Michael warned her about the bad weather that was brewing in her neck of the woods (we had just watch a video at the start of the exhibit about the hurricane that wrecked the pirate ship) The pirate was grateful for the weather update and the helpful tips Michael offered for when the storm did hit.
Patrick liked the telescope.
and everyone tried their hand at tying sailor knots.
The Pirate exhibit was great, the underwater IMAX movie narrated by Jim Carrey was wonderful, but it was the hands on galleries and displays that made the trip extra special.
Sorry for the bad photos. I just can’t quite get museum lighting down.
And then Michael saw the tornado machine. Never has there been a happier boy at this exhibit.
We saw everything there was to see but always seemed to end right back at the tornado.
Michael, “Can we have one of these at home””