Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Road Trip || M I N N E A P O L I S

We are still reeling from our whirlwind trip to Minneapolis! Yesterday, I shared the first half of the photos, and here are the rest! We had so much fun, and I wish we could have stayed twice as long. I'm so thankful we got to see so many of my family members in just a matter of days.

My Uncle Paul and Aunt Tina from Nebraska were on vacation in northern Minnesota, and our trips overlapped for a day! They brought us some Caribou Coffee and pastries, and we caught up over brunch. Later that night, I heard that it was their 30th anniversary, and I felt so honored to have spent a part of their day with them :)

I was a terrible photographer that night when a big group of family gathered for dinner. But I did manage to get these sweet shots of Nolan and Ephraim with Great Grandpa Don. It was a beautiful night spent talking over hamburgers on the grill, corn on the cob, and Aunt Yvonne's famous homemade peanut butter cups.

Tuesday morning, my cousin Kristine offered to take us to the Minnesota Zoo! It was only a couple of minutes from where we were staying at my cousin Emily's house. With little kids, we can always get excited about a zoo visit :) We saw bears, bison, camels, tigers, penguins, and it was the best afternoon! I even ran into a high school friend who I haven't seen in ten years.

Sweet baby Andie

One of my favorite parts of the zoo was the butterfly garden. 

We only got to spend two full days in Minneapolis, so we went to visit my Grandma and Grandpa both days. My Grandma is in a health care rehab center after breaking a bone in her leg.  

It was Ephraim's first time meeting Great-Grandpa Don and Great-Grandma LaVerne (and only Nolan's second time). We are SO grateful to have spent time with them!

At Emily's house, Ephraim was crazy about the dogs, and Nolan loved playing with his second-cousin Mackenzie. When we got home, he told everyone at church about her during the children's sermon ;)

The boys did awesome again in the car from Minneapolis to Chicago. We stopped in Wisconsin Dells to eat at Applebee's. 

We spent the night in Chicago with our friends Brian and Maria and their two kids who are close in age to ours. On Thursday, we took a trip to the park, and we set up the pool and water table in their backyard.

While we were in Chicago, we had lemonade and frosted zucchini cookies with my Aunt Meg and Uncle Brian in their backyard. We really hit the jackpot with getting to see so much of our family!

We ended the night with a culinary favorite--Lou Malnati's deep dish, and then we hit the road for home. We pulled an all-nighter so the kids could sleep. Steve was a rock-star and got us home safely at 9 am on Friday! XO

Monday, August 3, 2015

Road Trip Part One

On Friday the twenty-fourth, we hit the road for our big Minnesota trip! We were a little nervous about making the fifteen hour drive with two little guys, but it couldn't have gone better! The boys were calm, the weather was beautiful, and our new DVD player in the car was a lifesaver.

Our first stop was in central Ohio. I follow a friend on Instagram, Jess, who owns a coffee shop called "Lyn Marie's" in the small town of Monroeville. It was only about ten miles south of I-80, so we took a little detour. Jess happened to be working that morning, and she was the sweetest! We indulged with an iced white chocolate mocha for me and a frozen brownie batter drink for Steve, while the boys ate wildberry muffins and stretched their legs from the car ride.

Is it not the cutest coffee shop ever?!

After several more hours in the car, we reached our first destination--Indiana. We got some take-out from Noodles & Company (and McDonald's for the boys), and dined in our hotel. We met up with my mom and Don, and the boys got to swim in the hotel pool with their cousins :)

I signed up Nolan for the Lowe's Build and Grow Workshop in Indiana so that he could make another Avenger vehicle--Hawkeye's Quinjet.

The Lowe's we went to was in the town that my mom grew up in, so we took a quick drive past my grandparents' old house. So many memories in this little home!

On Saturday afternoon, my mom's side of the family gathered together for a big pizza lunch and mini reunion!

Meeting baby Levi!

My grandpa and me.

A line-up of the six great-grandkids! My grandma used to always take our pictures in age order, with five girls and one boy. Now, we have five boys and one girl in the next generation :)


My cousins and our kids :)


A photo with the grandmas.

Not the best-arranged photo, but we are all in it :)

We spent the rest of the day outside at my Aunt Sally's house. When the heat cooled down, we started a fire and grilled hot dogs. For dessert, my mom bought us all fancy cupcakes from "Designer Desserts". I got to try bites of the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel, Cookie Dough, Creme Brulet, and Red Velvet, and they were amazing!

On Sunday morning, we started the next big push towards Minneapolis. A stop at Culver's for lunch is a must when in Wisconsin.

Nolan posing with some frozen custard--you can tell we ate well on this trip :)

I'll post the rest of the Minnesota photos soon!

Happy Monday :)


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