Out-of-Minneapolis-Adventures

Sometimes you just have to look really close at the record sleeve to see if there are hidden liner notes there.

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SQWARSHES from the yard.

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Last weekend, we went on an impromptu trip to Des Moines. Turned out, the Beaverdale Fall Fest was going on! Oh, the many, many memories.

This year, we were lucky enough to be there for the first ever Dog Parade

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We did quite a lot of squealing. I loved that the tiniest dog followed the hugest. Reminded me of Go, Dog, Go.

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I don’t remember going to the parade much as a kid, but it was fun enjoying it with my boys, and telling them about the relevance of each passing group to me–not that they cared, of course, but it’s hard not to share anyway.

This was something I didn’t even have to explain. They have their own wonderful relationship with Snookie’s Malt Shop. The announcer’s tribute to Jim and Marilyn, the recently-passed owners, definitely made me cry.

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Northwest Soccer!

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Charlie waving to the Perkins Elementary Penguin

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Henry was thrilled to see the Magic School Bus.

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We also got to see my brother and his family, including the one and only… Chrysanthemum

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Who knows what kind of shenanigans these guys were all up to

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Back in Minnesota, we met up with Tony and Laura for my first trip to what is commonly referred to as Pizza Farm. It took about an hour and a half to get there, but was definitely worth it.

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It’s a farm in Wisconsin that, on summer Tuesday nights, turns what they grow into delicious delicious pizza.

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While I was swooning over the food, Charlie was having way more fun feeding the cows than himself.

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Henry wanted to try, too, but was much more hesitant

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We found the composting outhouse pretty cool

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After a potty break, we were ready to explore the farm

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Eggplant plants

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munchies for the sheep

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One of the best things about farms is that there’s always random contraption bits lying about.

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After a few days of recovery, we were invited to go to the Tamarack Nature Center with Henry’s friend, Phoebe.

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This place is so perfect for him. It has all of the things. Sand, water, big sticks, logs, and a garden.

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The garden was my personal favorite (surprise!). They have signs on any plants that need water, so kids know where to dump their watering cans.

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And, of course, a pump to fill the cans. What could possibly be better?

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Oh. Maybe this turtle. Henry reeeeally loved this turtle.

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Wow, so we have spent a LOT of time out of the city recently.

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My, how we’ve grown!

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Laura and I always hit an apple orchard/pumpkin patch in the fall, so this year, we went to Applewood upon Em & O’s recommendation. It was so lovely.

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I mean…why don’t all orchards have this???

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There were raspberries as well

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It was insanely hot, though, and they had nowhere to refill our water bottles. Unfortunately, therefore, we had to buy bottled. Dehydration was not an option!

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I mean, there was climbing to do.

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And hedge maze chases to be had

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Sassin’ up the maze

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A basket of joy

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Even though we have our own apple tree, we just couldn’t resist a walk through the pick-your-own. And then we couldn’t resist filling our basket. Zestar and Sweet Sixteen don’t grow in my yard!

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Henry was so hot and tired from all the exertion (he was SO active here, and seriously…HOT), so he took a ride in my arms on the walk back to the farmhouse. He’s getting to the point where it’s tough to carry him for a long walk, but I also love the opportunity to snuggle him close for that long.

 

 

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A Game of Squash

Henry and I planted pumpkins waaaaay  back in the spring. And now we’ve harvested our very first one of the season.

Charlie wants me to turn it into puree, but Henry’s not quite ready to let that happen.

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Our apple tree’s also going to town. This is like a tenth of it.

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And Charlie’s now officially a first grader. My, how things do grow!

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Last weekend, Joe informed us we were going mini-golfing. I love mini-golfing, but I admit when I picture a mini golf course it’s pretty simplistic. A windmill here, a little “creek” there…but this place was on an entirely other level.

It’s a sculpture garden primarily, and then also the artist created a 14-hole mini golf course. I have to say, this place is something straight out of my dreams. Maybe not your dreams, but definitely mine.

Picnic table

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Goat pen, including a nice little visual shout-out to the spoon-and-cherry bridge

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A sculpture-adorned little pond

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Best.

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Apparently the artist traded a new, working tractor for a bunch of old-timey broken ones. Our kinda guy

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It wasn’t just me who was lovin’ all this. The boys were in total wander-mode.

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Henry was, I believe, being a trailer pulled by the Daddy tractor. Also check Joe’s awesome clip-on sunglasses. Thanks, Grandpa Mel! All three of us found some that worked for our particular glasses.

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Yes.

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Quadruple Yes!

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Charlie had theories about all of the things

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Daddy must be the trailer now

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Rock Paper Scissors. Oh yeah

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These are our silly faces

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There is a great area with a bonfire pit. Apparently rentable? Also, they just keep a fire going and provide fresh marshmallows and skewers. And their pig hangs out.

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Never pass up an opportunity like this, I say.

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Pirate ship you can climb in

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Complete with treasure chest guarded by an octopus

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I’m just going to have to say it again: I loved this place.

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After our stroll about the grounds, we hit the course. Despite how often they’ve done it, putting still just is very awkward for them.

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Henry mostly ended up being the Flag Guy.

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A hole inside an upturned boat hull!

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We all thought it looked like a church

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Flag Guy

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A hole inspired by Spiral Jetty. I think this was my fave

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It was so long, so you could really whack the ball. And it smelled like the Como Conservatory (which is a wonderful botanical smell for the non-Twin-Citians)

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Plinko-inspired

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The last hole carries your ball meanderingly down this water labyrinth before it disappears below. Wonderful and meditative way to end a round.

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Bye, Big Stone!

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While we were over in Minnetrista, we stopped by Gale Woods Farm

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Charlie said that he wished he were a chicken, and that he lived in this coop

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Mushroom Forest

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The Learning Garden, AKA: the sample room

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Everything was delicious. I still remember the first time I got to wander through a huge garden and pick food right off the plants. It’s one of my favorite memories, so it was beautiful to see the boys doing the same, even if they’re probably still too young for it to become any kind of lasting memory.

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Butterfly raspberries

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Every year since Charlie started preschool in 2014, the teachers at Judson have asked us to provide a family picture, either for the classroom door or for getting-to-know-you books or whatnot. I’m really glad, because we so rarely take a photo that includes all of us at once. This way, every fall, along with the Welcome Letters from the teachers comes the request for a photo. Without fail, we realize we have none, so we ask whoever’s standing around at that moment to take our picture in the front yard. This year, either Sparks or Talon did the honors, I can’t remember.

So without further ado, here’s this year’s photo

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Fair Weather Wedding

Last week was Charlie’s final week of summer vacation. He missed the Minnesota State Fair last year because of school, but he was NOT about to miss it again. So since Friday was going to be a very special day, we hit the fair opening day on Thursday.

Turns out…great day to go to the fair. We took the A-Line bus there, which Charlie’s been dying to ride on since he first saw one.

If you’re not into machinery and vehicles, don’t go to the fair with my kids. The first thing we hit were the snowplows.

Henry loved that this was a pick-up end that you could attach to a regular car.

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Then we found some ice houses. The boys were really into figuring out which would be the best one for Joe, Jim, Zach and Derek to buy for their fishing trips. We thought Joe would like this one, because he could just sit by the fireplace instead of fishing.

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We brought the catalogue home and Charlie is still trying to figure out which one he should save up for. We had yet another detailed discussion about the options this morning.

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Eco-Experience building was a hit

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You could ride this bike and make the huge bike above turn

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Learning about traffic

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John Deere tent next to the huuuuge new ferris wheel. I heard it’s the biggest in North America, but you can’t believe everything you hear.

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More ice houses!

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Henry found his bunk

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Molly the trolley took us to our next destination: a couple rides. Hot air balloon ride and monster trucks. We had to agree between the three of us, which was a trick, but we made it happen, and everyone was very happy.

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Charlie was psyched to see the Sun Country tent. He’s such a brand guy.

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This is a hat

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Henry really wanted to see the animals, but Charlie didn’t. So we compromised with the Miracle of Birth Center: BABY ANIMALS!

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He was cool with that.

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I believe this was bunnies

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On our way out, the boys decided the mini-donuts weren’t quite enough food, so we stopped for corn dogs. H went with mini dogs, which is a brilliant idea. Manageable size for a lil guy, but still enough food

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We were aaaaalmost out the gates, when Charlie saw the golf carts. And we just couldn’t leave without checking those out

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Then came FRIDAY!

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They both got new shoes for Emma and Derek’s wedding. Charlie wanted something “cool and cute, but still fancy.”

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Uncle Mark brought the newlyweds to our lunch in his awesome Desoto. My guys were impressed.

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Have you been to Jax’ patio? It. is. magical.

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Grandma Penny and Grandpa Steve made it as well, and we had a glorious time exploring the grounds of Silver Lake

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Dad didn’t want Hennie’s shoes to get his clothes all dirty, so he held him like this. Which we all thought was hilarious. He looks like he’s carrying a ventriloquist dummy

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The wedding was beautiful, the weather was amazing, and the whole day was just perfect. I thought the boys would have gotten tired/bored with the down time, since we were there early to set up and whatnot, but they were so busy and happy the entire day.

And then we had the weekend to recover.

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