Wednesday, September 4, 2013

So Long Summer

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer.  Sure, we still have some sunshiny days ahead of us, but we know they are nearing the end.  With Labor Day comes back to school and back to a routine.  I don’t have a school age child, but I can relate to having a looser schedule in the summer.  Bed times get pushed back because we want to get as much outside time as we can.  Dinners are a lot more low key and spur of the moment.  Cold sandwiches one night, a box of mac and cheese the next, and throwing whatever can be grilled on the grill.  The chore list that we so diligently stuck to during the winter has gone out the window.  Who has time to sweep when there are new playgrounds to discover? 

I consider myself a summer time girl so it’s always a little sad to see Labor Day come.  I think mostly because I know what’s ahead.  Months and months of cold, dark days.  Snow that comes up to my waist.  Driving on icy slick roads.  All things that I get so sick of by the time March rolls around.  That’s why it’s so important to me that I make the most out of summer.  I feel it goes by so quickly and I don’t want to look back and think “What the heck did we do this summer?”  Mike and I created a Summer Bucket List to make sure we got the most out of our summer and we accomplished almost everything before Labor Day…

1.Visit Como Zo
2. Splash Pad in St. Louis Park
3. Roast marshmallows in our backyard (When I wrote this, E was not yet mobile. Realized fire and a 1 year old, not a good idea.)
4. Sit in the driveway and drink a beer  (I think we can triple check this one.)
5. Grill as much as possible  (Every chance we get, sometimes for lunch and dinner!)
6. Plant a tomato and pepper plant  (I didn't plant a pepper plant but my tomato plant is going strong.)
7. Grow fresh cilantro (I'm crossing this one off because I attempted fresh cilantro, it died)
8. Drink morning coffee on our patio
9. Walk to Caribou with E and Josie for morning coffee
10. Take Evan to one of Minnesota's many lakes (Lake Superior)
11. Visit Itasca State Park
12. Go Fishing (Mike went but we didn't make it as a family)
13. Go to the Farmer's Market as much as possible (only made it once)
14. Golf
15. Eat at Sea Salt
16. Adele's for frozen custard 
17. Take E to a playground (This is pretty much a daily activity for us)
18. Take E to a parade (We went to the 4th of July Parade in Spicer)
19. Pull E with the bike
20. IA or MN State Fair

Now, as sad as I am to see summer go, I must admit, the weeks following Labor Day do bring some excitement.  So, in order to put a positive spin on the unofficial end of summer, I've created my Fall Top 10 List (in no particular order).

1.       College football season kicks off
2.       No more summer reruns and the anticipation of new shows for the fall season 
3.       Peanuts and candy corn (If you’ve never tried this delicious mix, you must try it!)
4.       Chili and corn bread, this is a fall favorite of mine
5.       Carving pumpkins
6.       The leaves changing colors
7.       Sleeping with the windows open on a crisp fall night
8.       Apple season…apple cider, apple crisp, carmel apples
9.       Daylight Savings, fall back to get an extra hour of sleep.
10.    Oktoberfest beer

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Great Minnesota Get Together

Despite the 90 degree weather and 100% humidity, we ventured out to the Minnesota State Fair.  I love the fair!  Of course I’m partial to the Iowa State Fair, but the Minnesota State Fair is a pretty close second (never mind I've only been to two state fairs).  I mostly go for the food, but I also enjoy looking at the award winning vegetables.  My sister-in-law, Andrea, had an exhibit this year showcasing old postcards, so I had to check that out.  She took home 3rd place in her category and won $2! 

This was E’s first fair experience and seeing his reaction to all the sights and sounds was the highlight of this year’s trip.  Just getting there was an adventure for him.  E’s really into trucks, cars, planes; basically anything that has a motor and moves.  We took the park-n-ride which meant he got to ride on a bus.  He thought that was pretty cool and now “bus” is in his vocabulary. 

When we arrived at the fair, our first stop was the Miracle of Birth Barn to check out all the baby animals born at the fair.  When E saw the goats he was screaming “Baa Baa” and I thought he was going to jump out of his stroller with excitement.  I’m sure he was confused, at Grandpa’s house he can walk right in with the goats, but I think they would frown upon that at the fair.   Another big hit for E were the misting stations.  There were water misters set up throughout the fair to cool off fair goers. E loves anything with water.  All the live music at the various stages caught E’s attention as well.  He busted out some great dance moves. 

And of course there was E’s first experience with fair food, which is my personal favorite.  He sampled corn dogs and cheese curds, chicken tenders and a turkey sandwich.  He took advantage of the all you can drink milk and ended his trip to the fair with a stop at the Dairy Barn where he helped Grandma, Mom and Dad eat their malts.  When we boarded the bus to get back home, he wiggled around between Mom and Dad for a while and then as soon as we took off he passed out on Dad’s lap and woke up barely enough to get a new diaper on and PJs and then was back to sleep.

I loved watching E’s reaction to everything, it made this fair experience so much better.  I was proud with how well he behaved.  He went with the flow and didn't fuss once even though we were out past his bedtime.   I know E won’t remember his first fair, but I’m hoping that somewhere in that little mind of his he’s developing sense of a happy childhood. 

Evan in the misters

Checking out the chickens.
Loving the Fair.

Mike with his pork chop on a stick.

Ice Cream!