After a fun filled part one, here is our Minnesota Summer Vacation: part 2. It keeps getting better and better.
Day 3: Now, how do we follow-up the beach and fireworks? Well, shopping of course. Nisswa has the quaintest row of cute little shops shops. Yes, some of them are a bit ornate (reminds me of grandma’s house) and others are just full of
crap tourist junk, but a few have some nice fashion and are really adorable with their “mom and pop” feel. I did end up finding a dress at one of the cute little boutiques. We also picked up sweatshirts for those chilly Minnesota summer nights from Appaloosa Ridge Home Body and Gift (so small, no website). These sweatshirts actually do wear well and don’t fall apart like a lot of tourist gear does. In between shopping down the main street in Nisswa, we did stop for a quick pick me up at StoneHouse Coffee and Roastery. In addition to my latte, I had one of the best scones I’ve ever had! You can actually buy the mix and make them yourselves. I plan on doing this. Seriously, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. We gave Max and Madelynn each a budget and they each bought a few small things. It is hilarious how when you give them a budget, they are so reluctant to spend it. After our fill of shopping, we stopped for lunch at Bar Harbor. It was a lovely, mid-seventies afternoon and we ate outside on patio while watching boats go through the channel.
We headed back to the cabin for a little down time in the afternoon. Here is where I fully intended to do some reading and so did Trent. However, our best intentions soon gave way to some late afternoon cat napping. We’ll take it. It is after all our vacation.
That evening we had an easy dinner and everyone besides me (the DD) decided to have an after dinner cocktail back a Bar Harbor (I am seeing a theme). We sat near the live piano music and started requesting some of our favorite songs. Kevin and my sister Pam were singing along, while Max and Madelynn were sipping on kiddy cocktails. The “piano man” even let Max sit at the piano and strike a few keys; which was so cool because Max is going to take some lessons starting this fall.
When we got back to the cabin, the adult beverages and
sugar cocktails kiddie cocktails were kicking in. Trent turned on his blue tooth speaker and started playing songs (Baby Got Back to a 70’s mix). Everyone joined in with a kind of Karaoke dance party! It was HILARIOUS. Madelynn had no idea her dad still had moves like that. And to tell you the truth, she was probably hoping he didn’t (he moves his hips way too much…it’s almost a gyration…gotta love him…ha ha). The kids, Trent, Kevin and I all went until after midnight. We ended up moving onto show tunes. And Kevin, who really has a beautiful voice, was belting them out. So much fun! Maddie (future Broadway actress) LOVED it.
Day 4: Let’s see. We’ve boated, beached and shopped. What is left in Brainerd, MN (not too much)? Why of course, mini-golf and go-carts! But before we get to that, it was a sad breakfast as we had to say good-bye to Jimmy and Pam. Since this was a Tuesday, they both had to get back for work. But, once we said good-bye, we did lift our spirits with 18 holes of putt-putt. My brother-in-law, Kevin, came along with me, the kids and Trent. I’m actually not too shabby at the short game, and as usual, I am exceedingly competitive. I had some serious competition with Trent and Kevin. Max too was pretty on point for a 7 year old. Madelynn on the other hand hit the 6 stroke limit per hole more than once (maybe all 18 holes). But, she took it all in stride. In the end, Trent nudged me out in the last few holes and won by two strokes. Grrrrr…or maybe I let him. LOL!
Now, when we got there, we bought the combo package that included the go-carts. Madelynn and I went as singles, while Trent drove Max. The boys working the carts clearly warned everyone to not bump or otherwise drive maliciously. If you did, you would be red flagged and asked to park your cart. Do you think Trent paid attention to this…obvious answer being NO! He spun out his daughter in the first lap. Poor Maddie, not her day. The pre-teens operating the ride clearly didn’t see that one. Trent was then gunning for me. But due to my Andretti like skills, he never could quite catch up to me and I left him in my lawn mower engine gas fumes.
After go carting, Trent, Madelynn and I went to Target. I had bought two blow-up floats before we left. When we got there and took them out, it was clear that no combination of us was going to blow them up without passing out. I was sad. But Trent was determined that I realize my dream of having these two cute floats for the lake. So, he bought a compressor…what a doll. We got back to the cabin and blew up the pineapple and cherry floats. Madelynn and I braved the chilly water and chilled out ourselves on our “could not be cuter” floats. Except, the pineapple ended up getting a tear in it after about 10 minute in the water. Womp Womp. The cherry float did fit 2 of us, so it was A-OK. We even got Trent in too before our fun was curtailed by a pop-up thunderstorm.
That evening we had dinner and had to say good-bye to Kevin, too. He had to work in the morning and needed to head back down to Minneapolis. We considered going to the channel for more fireworks, but we all agreed we’d rather not fight the crowd and had satisfied our fix earlier. Instead, we played Apples-to-Apples, Max’s all time favorite, and made s’mores. Happy kids=happy parents.
Day 5: Our lake town extravaganza had come to an end, but it wasn’t the end of our vacation. Woo Hoo! Trent and I made plans to visit Minneapolis for two days. It would be a way to break up the trip home and have some more summer time fun. We stayed in downtown Minneapolis near the new Vikings stadium at an Aloft. It wasn’t anything fancy (not the Ritz), but importantly they take pets (but so does the Ritz). Once we arrived and settled in, we decided to visit the Mall of America and do some shopping. Here too, we gave the kids a budget and they actually spent the money. The highlight was watching Madelynn dance in the fitting rooms in every outfit she tried on. This is a normal reoccurrence, as she feels that being able to dance in what she is wearing is essential. HA!
Day 6: How did we do all of the Mall of America in one afternoon yesterday; answer…we didn’t. So, we headed back! For those of you not in the know, the mall not only has more shops than any single mall in U.S., but it also has a small amusement park. This day would mostly be devoted to riding the rides. Both Max and Madelynn are
wimps a bit shy about coasters, but luckily, this park has small rides that are perfect for their wild side. It did still take some coaxing and Madelynn had given me strict instructions to not let her say no to the scary coasters. Needless to say, once we got broke the seal, the kids had so. much. fun. Trent and I also rode a few ourselves enjoying every minute of it. Those who know us know we love the coasters. These were small, but packed a lot of power and good ole’ fun!
That evening we made special plans to get family photos done. Odd you may think to get family pictures done there, huh? However, what you likely don’t know is that our wedding photographer, Shane, is actually from MN. We had planned on being married in MN, and had booked him. When we changed our venue to Florida, it was easier and more cost effective continue working with him. Oh, and his work is AMAZING! Seriously, if you need a photographer, he is wonderful (here is his website). Fast forward back to today, we knew we had to take advantage of being in Minneapolis and get some family pics. We met him near the Stone Arch Bridge and had a lot of fun playing model. The kids are naturals and he makes it all so effortless.
After the pics, we met Steve and Kevin for one last dinner. We talked for quite some time at the table before finally deciding it was getting late and time to go. The kids were totally happy as they had fresh baked cookies and milk.
Day 7: YUCK! The next morning it was time to head home. As you well know, the trip home doesn’t have nearly the energy and excitement as the trip there. We made the best of it though. We still were goofy with sing-alongs and the like. Trent said we even made good time home, LOL.
Lucky for us, we still had a couple of days in Chicago before the kids had to head back to Indiana. All and all, it was a memorable vacation.
The white linen dress I am wearing is on sale with an additional 50%. Link here. 🙂