Wednesday, April 30, 2014


 In early April, Jeremy and boys planned a "beer pong tournament" for us. That's code for beer tasting around Minneapolis. Jeremy was serious about our adventure. He even sent us all an  app called "untappd" to download in advance, in preperation.
Our couples Beer-cation started on a sunny spring Saturday at Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub in south Minneapolis. BEST Onion Rings EVER. Good beer too.

 Next stop - Harriett Island Brewery (which is nothing more then a garage, with a leaky ceiling and some thrift store tables and chairs). Least favorite beer of our 5 visits, and it had nothing to do with the atmosphere.
Beer-cation happened to coordinate with our wedding annivesary. We make a cute couple in this photo. Next up we cruised to Steel Toe Brewery in St. Louis Park, and then on to Nord'east Mpls.


We actually spent time in a que at a majority of the brew pubs we visited. Beer sampling is THE hot ticket in town!

 Our beer scene is notable nationwide.

 The real theme of the day was "FUN with FRIENDS.

 We had an absolute BLAST.

 Great beer. Great smiles. Great laughs. 

 Great couples.

Aftre Indeed, we were on to Dangerous Man...then walked two blocks for dinner reso's at NE Social. We dined at  Mark's FAVORITE restaurant for his 41st Birthday and our 11th Anniversary.
Believe it our NOT, the night was still not over. 

We headed back to the Lyon's for an over-night, but not before stopping at King's Wine bar for... a GLASS OF WINE!!!!??????

Coco Beach - Orlando 2014

We took one day away from the Orlando park action to spend a day at the beach!

It was cloudy and cool, so Coco Beach was quiet in general when we arrived mid-morning.

The kids ran and played. Mark and I relaxed and rested.

The kids buried me in the sand.

We headed to the the touristy peir for lunch. It was less than  70 degrees, so the spring breakers were still tucked inside nursing their hang overs.

After lunch ( & cocktails), the kids spent the rest of the afternoon frolicking in the chilly surf.  I drifted off and snoozed on my towel, and returned to Orlando with a nice sunburn!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

battle wounds

Marly got her first ever battle wound and stitches this week.
I got a call from the school nurse around 11 am on Monday.
Marly had fallen in class and probably needed stitches on her head.

The nurse was calm. I was calm. I will admit I actually chuckled. Every parent eventually gets a call like this, right??? These things happen. Many adults have a story about that nearly invisible scar, only they can see.

I finished up the e mail I was working on, stopped to say good-bye to my co-workers, and alerted them I probably wouldn't be back.

When I picked up Marly, she was so silent and looked terrified. We headed back across the river (I cross the Mississippi multiple times a day) to Urgent Care. 
Marly had been hearing everyone whisper "stitches" and was scared. We got an awesome doctor who was also a grandpa. Marly only cried when it was just the two of us, otherwise - she was a total TOUGH-ee.  The doctor returned. Marly hopped up on the table without hesitation, asked for my hand, squeezed tight when he injected the Novocaine, didn't move, didn't cry, and didn't flinch. The very brave patient came home with five or six stitches in the two gashes on her forehead (caused by a run in with a bookcase).

Ice cream makes EVERYTHING better. On the way home we stopped at McDonald's and got lunch and a Shamrock Shake. Us girls enjoyed a lovely spring lunch date on the patio back at  home, and we were both SMILING!

Saturday we returned to the clinic to get the stitches out. The same lovely nurse as Monday assisted us. She said Marly was probably the bravest/toughest/calmest girl to get stitches she had seen. I have been told from time to time, I have a high threshold for pain. (I really don't know how one can know that about themself....maybe I just KEEP CALM).

Marly is like me. She can KEEP CALM!

Friday, April 11, 2014

We are FAMILY!

The safari ride at Animal Kingdom.

After lunch at the Tusker House. Somehow we "magically' missed the rain.

 3D show in Fantasy Land at the Magic Kingdom

 The water sculpture at Epcot

Marly got us at Animal Kingdom. Mom with map (of course).

Who the heck knows????
The Jungle Ride at Magic Kingdom

At one of the awesome parades.

 CRABBY Marly on the shuttle bus at 9:00 am to the Animal Kingdom. 
Don't worry... It didn't last.

Marly declared our family friendly rental "The BEST, most luxurious car EVER"!! 

We "might" have ridden the tea cups on two separate visits to the park.

My dad RARELY looks happy in photos. (like almost NEVER). 
This is the last day of our vacation, just before we left the Magic Kingdom.
He kind of looks happy. WOW.
He swears he had a FANTASTIC time!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mickey and Friends

Mickey at the Tusker House lunch at Animal Kingdom.

Pluto at our hotel breakfast!


...and Daisy too!

Princesses? This girl is GA GA for Daisy and MINNIE!

We used our third FastPass at the Animal Kingdon to meet MINNIE! Marly had been asking to meet her at least ten times a day since we met Mickey the first night. She couldn't have been happier to meet Minnie. She was almost as excited to see Minnie in her RED polka dot dress with her trademark YELLOW shoes, from across the plaza, greeting guests, on our next visit back at the Magic Kingdom.

Notice Minnie in the background below at Epcot. Marly "might" have brought home Minnie sequin ears, this dress with pink ears, a Minnie key chain for her backpack (and a second one with Daisy), a Minnie pillow pet (from Nana), and a Minnie stuffed animal (purchase with the last of the birthday money she brought,  on our LAST day, just before heading to the airport)

Just say'n

Goofy is a cool cat (dog) too. Not to be confused with Pluto (the other dog). We told the kids we would buy them ONE stuffed animal at Disney, and one t-shirt. Dean picked Pluto for his stuffed animal. Marly picked the lovely Lady. I wonder if the various dogs is a twin thing? When I was kid, mom and dad bought me Chip, and Brett picked Donald. 

Hugs from Mickey are the best!

Mickey and Minnie topiaries at Epcot for the Spring Flower Show!

Donald and Daisy, Mickey and Minnie, and so many friends at the parades!

Mickey for a snack.

Just Mickey's ears.

Mickey for breakfast!

And finally, you can even find Mickey on the man hole covers!

So long Mickey and Friends! We will miss you, and hope to return again!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Disney Magic!

Let me begin by telling you I was completely nervous and terribly anxious for our vacation destination this winter. The build up, the cost, the lines, the peek season crowds, the reservations you are recommended to make months in advance, the smartphone apps, the huge guide book devoted entirely to perfecting your family's trip to this ONE MASSIVE PARK. It had me in a bit of a tizzy!

Our destination - Walt Disney World!

This spring break, we got to experience the true MAGIC of Disney on a family vacation with Nana and Papa! And indeed, MAGICAL it was... just like everyone assured me.

Departing  Sunday, we faced multiple delays and missed flights attempting to leave Minnesota. Despite landing in Orlando way after 1 am, then checking into our hotel way after 2 am, the kids were at the pool by 10 am on Monday.

Papa and Nana spent a wee bit more time resting. But by late afternoon, we had boarded the hotel shuttle, picked up our pre-purchased passes at the gates of Disney, then hopped on the ferry to the Magic Kingdom!
 What an AWESOME vacation Dad and Nana!

No longer tired, we were all giddy, giddy, GIDDY! We didn't get more then 20 feet inside the park before Marly found the sparkly Minnie Ears she wanted. Moments after we witnessed our first MAGICAL parade, as Mickey, Minnie and more floated right by. Yes - THE Mickey and THE Minnie Mouse!

Then we took Sheldon and Michelle's advice and got our first Mickey snack - the carameled apples. At the counter, I asked if the apples could be sliced for us. Of Course - 4, 6 or 8 slices?

Then it was time for our first family photo in front of the castle!

Soon after, Dean found the perfect LED Mickey ears! Look at the sheer joy on his face.
Our first ride? "It's a Small World" of course! (also our first experience using Disney FastPass plus, picked from my smartphone, before we even picked up our official tickets or entered our thumb print. I am sure when Marly and Dean return as adults, they will tell their children about the now antiquated technology we used on our trip.)
Just one problem - Dean lost his rather heavy LED ears in the water before getting on the ride. But guess what??? By the time we got off, a cast member had fished them out.

The one more problem - The ears didn't light up any more. But, guess what??? A cast member presented him with a yellow carbon copy certificate for a replacement. At a nearby gift shop, Dean stood in line to get his new ears. He turned in the plain yellow copy, and the lovely lady at the counter said, "We hear your first pair of ears took a SWIM without you! Enjoy your new pair and have a wonderful visit!"

MAGICAL indeed!
After the sun set, we rode the tea cups, were mesmerized by the parade of lights (like Holidazzle on steroids with every cool Disney character and princess), and stayed for the awesome fireworks going off over the castle. Dean's LED lights changed color in time with the parade and fireworks.
...and then (could it get any better), as we were leaving the park at 11 pm feeling happy, happy, HAPPY, I noticed there was but a mere ten minute wait to meet Mickey's Magic show. A chance to meet Mickey in person, our first night? Heck YAH! The next thing we know, Mickey is chatting with Marly and Dean, and showing them a magic trick.

I cannot even describe the MAGIC of seeing Mickey tell your kids a joke, then pull them close in a hug that leaves your precious 7 year-olds mystified, mesmerized*, amazed, happy*, and in complete AWE!

The perfect end to our perfectly MAGICAL first day at Disney's Magic Kingdom!
(Marly's only concern - WHEN was she going to meet MINNIE!!!)

*Yes - I ran out of adjectives and need a thesaurus for my Disney posts!


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