Friday, August 28, 2009

Here we come Jen!!

So our last leg of the long trip (which has taken me even longer to post about, go figure) was to visit a high school friend of mine that I hadn't seen since 1993.. Long time, I know!! However, thanks to the fabulous yet addicting world of Facebook, I reconnected with Jen. Once we finalized our trip dates to the wonderful north, I sent her a message seeing if she would mind us popping in for a day or two.. She agreed, so we headed to Minnesota.. I was so excited to see her again, meet her gorgeous family and do a LOT of catching up. Since we were in the area, we just had to hit up the Mall of America but sadly I don't have any pictures of it. I didn't have my handy dandy Nikon and the pictures we took on the smaller camera were just not very good. Oh well, maybe next time. Jen was a gracious host and I even got to eat her famous homemade pizza, man was it YUMMY!! Her home is beautiful, her family is precious and she is a gem!! I am so glad to be back in touch with her!! It was a quick trip on Minnesota, but it was the icing on the cake for me!! Thanks Jen for putting up with us for a couple of days!! We really enjoyed spending time with you!!

Luke on the way to Minnesota.. He loves his monkey!

Emma on the fun water slide in Jen's backyard

Luke playing in the little pool area of the slide

Old friends!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hello Madison, Wisconsin

I just want to start by saying that Bob and I are IN LOVE with Madison.. He even mentioned moving there to finish his Master's?? No specific reason to change colleges, just an excuse to move there...funny stuff!!

So back to the trip... We left St Louis, MO on Friday late morning and drove through Illinois (which was beautiful too, as a matter of fact I found a little town in Illinois that I would not mind living in either....Lincoln, Ill) and made our way up to Madison. We pulled into Don and Meredith's (Bob's brother and his lovely wife) driveway around 6'ish, just in time for dinner.. The whole family was outside waiting for us and it was so good to see them. Don and Meredith have 2 beautiful little girls, Nora(5) and Elsie(2).. Sweetest little nieces, love them!! So we unloaded a few key items and headed in to tour their home. They just recently moved (like within a month before we arrived) and their house is gorgeous, just perfect for them. Not to mention that it is nestled in the most beautiful neighborhood. When we first pulled in to the neighborhood I think my mouth hit the floor. I was surrounded by old tudor style homes everywhere. Now not all the homes where tudor style, but it is certainly not a "cookie cutter" (Nora loved this term while I was there, she would always try to point out "cookie cutter" homes to me, so cute) neighborhood, however a majority of the homes fit into the tudor style mold. Don and Meredith live in a more modern style home, but just as beautiful. Ok, I am so off track now..

So we get there, have dinner, unload, get beds situated, let the kids run wild, put them down, stay up late talking to Don and Meredith and plan our next days events. Bob, Don and Meredith are big fans of NPR (I like it too, just not as much as they do) and we found out that one of the shows (Whad'Ya Know) was in town doing a taping , so we decided to buy tickets and be in the audience. It was a really fun experience but a little difficult with two 2yr olds.. See it is a radio show, so we are not seen but heard and I am pretty sure it is taped live..... However, Emma did make it on the show at one point during audience questions...pretty cool. After the taping we decided to walk the downtown area. While walking to the capitol we came across the Farmer's Market that is held there every Saturday...had some yummy garlic cheese.. some delicious bread filled with cheese.. admired the outside and inside of the capitol and then realized that it was REALLY crowded on State Street which is where we had wanted to head. What we didn't know before hand was that annual summer sidewalk sale was happening that weekend, which gave Meredith and I a great idea for the next day :o)

Before this gets even longer than it already is, I will summarize.. We ate a lot of good food (cheese especially), took the kids to the zoo, toured the campus by car on a rainy day, built racks for Don's windsurfing equipment, played a lot, canoed one morning, had some yummy ice cream, shopped sidewalk sales, rode bikes everyday, enjoyed great weather (I was in heaven), played cards, talked, admired how well our children got along, went to the store a few times, took the van in because Walmart in Texas messed up big time, even did some laundry....but most importantly we made some really good memories with some really fun people!! We hope to do it again next year, and the year after that, etc!! :o)