oops, i lied. it took a little longer to put this post together. we are back from our 9 day visit to minneapolis (5 days for thatcher). it was wonderful, but also went by in a flash. we opted to visit before christmas and before ashford turned two to avoid having to buy a ticket for him. we crammed as much as possible into our time there and while it sometimes felt like a lot of running around, it was nice to see so many people we've missed. i won't recap every minute of our days there, but i will highlight some of the stuff we did (mostly the stuff we took pictures of) and a few other things i want to remember.
jackson street roundhouse christmas train
our first full day there we went to st. paul to the jackson street roundhouse museum. we had been there once before 2 summers ago. they had a special christmas event going on this time. thatcher's sister cedar and our nephew jack came, and we also met our friends missy & nate and their kids cameron & mallory there. the kids had lots of fun playing at the train tables and exploring the cool old train cars (my favorite part!).
we got to see santa arrive on a train outside and go for a little ride as well.
disney on ice
my mom decided to do an "experience" for the kids' main christmas gift this year, which i excited about. she bought tickets for disney on ice for our family and herself. we told azalea the day of that we were going, but i don't really think she understood what it was all about until we got there. we had great seats and the show was magical. even ashford was mesmerized (well, for the first half at least - ha!). it was a fun night!
ashford's (early) birthday party
we did not do an early christmas celebration in minnesota, but we did do a little family birthday party for ashford one night. my mom hosted and thatcher's family, my brother, and my aunt and cousin came. it was a fun night! it blows my mind how much better ashford understands birthdays than azalea did at this age. second children pick up on everything so much faster!
he had fun opening some small gifts to take back...azalea enjoyed helping ;)
we ordered pizza and thatcher made a chocolate cake.
he loved blowing out his candles and eating the cake. as you can see, shirts were optional ;)
other things i want to remember about our trip home:
- this was my first time back since my dad's funeral. it was sad, yet also comforting to stay at my parents' house. everything there reminds me of him even though his stuff no longer sits out on the counters and his shoes and jacket aren't by the door. i've been somewhat insulated from missing him while living in seattle. i have no direct memories/reminders of him here. so being home was tough. we all miss him so so much. azalea asked a lot of questions about him and we do our best to explain what even adults struggle to understand.
- my mom doesn't really decorate for christmas in minneapolis anymore since she is usually only home from florida for a short time for the holidays. but this year she decided to get a tree, especially for me and my love of all things christmas. it was so sweet of her and the tree looked beautiful.
- speaking of christmas trees, we also had lunch at thatcher's parents' one day and helped decorate their tree with cedar and jack.
- the weather was super bizarre for mid december. we arrived to temps in the 40's and rain. we only saw a dusting of snow (and none already on the ground). it got down to the single digits one morning, but overall, very strange weather they have been having.
- i got to meet my friend anna's new baby (alena) and sara's new baby (henry) who were both born since the summer. it was heaven to snuggle their little ones.
- my mom, the kids and i visited my grandma's husband bob at his condo. we also helped do some christmas decorating there. it was nice to see him and azalea gave him lots of hugs, which made my heart so happy.
- i went into my office for the first time since july! i had lunch with my co-workers (got to meet some new ones!) and then worked for a couple hours at my old desk. it was fun!
- we had dinner at our family friends keith and sue's one night. they are good friends of my parents and i feel especially close to them after my dad's passing. they have been so good to all of us :)
- i was able to see lots of friends and family, but there's always more people i would have loved to see. especially since we probably won't be back again until summer. thank goodness for facebook, etc!
and that's a wrap!