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Last weekend, the boys and I headed down to Des Moines for some Grandparent time. I spent most of it at the dining room table reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone aloud while Henry drew snakes, and Charlie constructed. Grandpa Steve got pretty into it, so Grandma Penny might have to find a copy to read the rest aloud to him and finish the story.

One of the mornings, we had poffertjes, and Grandma generously let Grandpa have a whole one to himself!

Saturday morning, cold though it was, we all walked up to Beaverdale. I wanted the bookstore and the coffee shop, and the boys wanted the candy store. Everybody won! Grandpa took this of us by a pretty mural that showed the weather we wished we were experiencing.

After a lunch at La Mie, they headed to the Science Center, and I walked home, stopping by a little record shop I’d never seen before. I found some winners!

That evening we hit Snookie’s for some ice cream, because, despite the cold, it was opening weekend! Gotta hit opening weekend when possible.

Sunday, there was a luncheon gathering for my uncle who’s moving back to the midwest. A great deal of the Sikkinks were there, which was really nice. It had been since Maine that these buds got to hang out, and they definitely made up for lost time.

The Lemonade War was a perfectly-lengthed audiobook that got us door-to-door from my grandparents’ house to our own back in Minneapolis. We were happy to see Joe again after his cabin weekend.

The strike was resolved, so on Monday I headed back into the building for the first time. I hung up in my classroom the Ella Baker artwork I’d made before we left.

It was an emotional re-immersion for the staff, but good to have Monday to prepare ourselves mentally and physically to get back to school life.

That evening I got some rejuvenation in the form of our friend, Hollis. Charlie just loves him. Henry, as you can see, was more ambivalent. He really liked playing with their dog, though!

The school week went really well, and even though my in-classroom sink was shut off on Tuesday, we’ve been working on clay. It’s been a fun adventure, and a good way to get back into the swing of things.

Thursday, the boys were giving Blue some love, and I ended up with this great series of pictures.

Blue’s claws tickled Henry’s legs through his sweatpants, and he just giggled and giggled!

This weekend, Joe was in Costa Rica meeting his new co-workers, so we had another weekend with just the three of us.

We decided an outing to the MN Zoo was in order.

It is cool to see how differently they experience this place now. They really take in the details and want to spend time observing, figuring, and wondering. The bats were a new discovery. We’d never, in my memory, actually looked at the bats, and this time we took probably 5 full minutes watching them.

They’re actually really cute! Charlie decided they are mini-chihuahua heads on furry pterodactyl bodies. Agreed.

Emma and Nora joined us after nap time, and she immediately wanted to get to the sharkies.

We never get to see the monk seals!

Nora was practically sprinting everywhere we went, so we made amazing time following her lead. With maybe only 15 minutes before closing, we made it to the sea otters, Grizzlies, and the leopard.

It is so good to be out in the world, breathing freer, and feeling lighter as the sun shines and gets us closer to spring. Day by day.

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