Thursday, August 22, 2013

Trip to Indiana

Finally asleep! - Madison, Wisconsin
Madeline loves to play with Grandma during our visits.
This summer has been non-stop. David was back in Michigan City (IN) in June, however, the circumstances under that particular trip did not allow for the kids and me to go with him.  While looking at our calendar we felt that it was necessary to make a trip to Indiana to visit David's parents, otherwise we would not be able to get back there until October. Despite departing on a vacation the very next weekend, we felt that it was important to squeeze in a mid-summer trip.  It was a whirlwind trip, but very enjoyable for us.  Jonathan's last swim lesson was Thursday (7/18) and so we planned to depart right after swim class.  Due to our late departure, we also planned to drive only half-way on our first night.  Since we always bring our dog, Sobaka, with us on our trips to Indiana, this meant finding a pet-friendly hotel.  We called Madison, Wisconsin our home for one night and had a super big family slumber party.  Thankfully Sobaka is a good traveler.  The trip was our first attempt to travel without our port-a-crib for Jonathan and so bedtime was a nightmare.  Without the constraints of his own room and familiar surroundings, it took forever for Jonathan to settle down (Luckily the familiarity of David's parents' house made the Indiana bedtimes run smoothly)  But eventually, Jonathan and Madeline shared one of our room's double beds.  (That is if you can actually call it "sharing" as Jonathan turned out to be a bed hog.)
Walking a dune, on the way to the beach.

Although David's dad enjoys the break from routine and usual quiet, our 3-ring circus arrives and basically turns his house inside out and upside down.  My father-in-law is a good sport, however, I truly believe that although he is happy to see us and have the company, I would have to assume that he is probably ready to see us leave too :-)  We do, however, enjoy
A lunchtime beach picnic
our visits.  Despite this being a short visit, we enjoyed our time together. 

I am pleased that this particular
A summertime luau with Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Carolyn
time in Indiana was more than just sitting in David's mom's room for our visits.  Prior to leaving for Indiana, I had coordinated with David's sister, Carolyn, and had her reserve a private dining room in the nursing home for one of the nights that we would be in town.  Together, we opted to have a mini-luau for dinner one of the evening we were in town.  Carolyn could probably open and stock
Jonathan loves his tote of make-believe items from Aunt Carolyn
her own Party City store and so she had supplied Hawaiian decorations for the room.  I cooked a bunch of tropical themed food and transported it all over to the nursing home so that we could enjoy dinner together as a family.  I was pleased that we chose to do something out of the ordinary for our visit.

Big thank you kisses
Jonathan was also super excited because our visit was just before his 2nd birthday.  Aunt Carolyn gave
A lunchtime visit with Grandma
Jonathan a huge tote of things for playing make-believe.  Due to the fact that Jonathan has an older sister, his world is still overloaded with Barbies, My Little Pony and the color pink.  Jonathan was thrilled with his tote of goodies and he & Madeline have since had much fun playing with these items together.

Why not?? We were in Wisconsin.
We also had a little time to head to the beach in Michigan City.  So many times our visits occur in spring, fall & winter.  Many times our summer visits do not allow for us to head to the beach - either because of prior commitments or poor weather.  This time, the weather was perfect and we made a point of visiting the beach that David grew up visiting.  David's childhood consisted of riding his bike to the beach.  And for me, another child of a Great Lakes city, I also enjoyed our visit to the lake.  Despite Minnesota having >10,000 lakes, there is nothing better than an afternoon on one of the Great Lakes.

Our ride home came way too quickly (although once it arrived it lasted wayyyyy too long).   And then, of course, stopping along the way is a necessity when traveling with kids - adding to our travel time.  Back in David's Marquette University days his pizza of choice was a Rocky Rococo (chain) and so we decided to stop there for lunch.  Certainly we couldn't pass up the Mars Cheese Castle that was nearby too.....Wisconsin. Cheese. Why not? Right??  We returned home on Sunday (7/21) ....just in time for us to unpack, do laundry and pack again for our next trip departure - 4 days later. Hectic? Yes. Worth it? Yes.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Two Birthdays and an Anniversary

June 20, 1998 - Delaware Park Rose Garden
June and July are always busy for us.  With our wedding anniversary on June 20th, my birthday on June 23rd and David's birthday on July 9th, the early part of summer has its share of celebrations.

Dinner at home on our actual anniversary (Thursday night)
This year David and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary.  I would've loved to have been able to have gotten a mini-getaway for just David and me, however those plans did not work out.  Although my sister, Margaret, was willing to come to Minnesota to watch the kids, David and I decided to have a
Ropes course (56 feet high). We walked out into plank near rafters on right.
more low key celebration.  Our anniversary fell on a Thursday night.  I ended up making a nice dinner at home on Thursday and we opted for a sitter on Saturday night for a date night.  Since David and I are lucky enough to be able to dine in some nice restaurants on a fairly regular basis, I suggested doing something completely different.

In harness - almost ready to climb
David and I regularly watch the seasons of television's Amazing Race.  For the various challenges, we announce, "I could do that challenge." or "You would have to do that one."  With a fair amount of travel under our belts, David and I often wonder how we would fare on the Amazing Race.  As a result, I suggest that we complete the rope climbing course at the Mall of America (Amazing Race regularly has challenges that tests one's fears of heights).  After splitting an appetizer and before dinner drink (liquid courage), David and I strapped on the safety harnesses and climbed the 56 feet toward the roof of the mall.  Balancing on small planks or, at times, nothing more than a tight rope, the rope course certainly did its part in giving me sweaty palms.  Not only that, but I was also so sore in the arms the next day from my clutching onto the ropes of my safety harness.  BUT....we did it!!  After completing the rope course, I took the kid-free opportunity to ride, Avatar, my favorite thrill ride at the park (No....I couldn't get David to ride).  Once we both got our adrenaline rush fix, we headed closer to home and enjoyed a quiet dinner on the patio of a restaurant near our house.  It was a low-key, yet very enjoyable anniversary celebration.

The kids created this banner as I was treated to sleeping in.
My birthday fell on the  weekend.  One of the best gifts anyone can give me is the gift of sleeping in....and that I did!  Since we've entered the world of kids, birthday celebrations have been
Movie - Monsters University. Jonathan lasted only as long as the snacks did.
kid-friendly family celebrations.  The weather the night before my birthday consisted of torrential down pours which made for soggy grass.  Between that and an overcast day, we figured that it was best to stay clear from any outdoor activities.  Since David and I were at the MOA just the day before, we really didn't feel like entertaining the kids there on the rainy day.  Instead we decided to go to a movie.  We figured that Jonathan would be old enough to try out this activity. 
My birthday cupcake and ice cream
Just in case, we opted to go to the theatre in two separate cars so that if Jonathan became a wiggle worm, we would have an "escape route" with him.  If the previews weren't so bloody long Jonathan would've done much better, however the movie previews seemed to last forever.  As a result, once the feature presentation, Monsters University, came on Jonathan only got about 30 minutes into the movie before David took Jonathan out and Madeline and I stayed for the remainder of the movie.  So much for a family activity.  After the movie, David grilled out steaks for us and we shared birthday cupcakes.

David's birthday at Big Marine Lake
16 days later we celebrated David's birthday.  Since his birthday was on a weekday, David had to work.  The kids and I traveled
David's birthday picnic
into St. Paul and barged into his work with party hats, party blowers and balloons so that we could give Papa some daytime
David's birthday cupcakes
birthday cheer.  Oh...yeah...we also found his car in the parking garage and wrote "Honk, it's my birthday" on his car windows (with window markers) - makings of an exciting ride home.  In the afternoon, I packed us a picnic so that we were ready to go later that afternoon.  David got home a little early that day and so he was able to join us for Jonathan's swimming lesson - allowing David to be Jonathan's partner in the pool.  Right after swim, we headed to a nearby park for our celebration.  I do miss the Great Lakes very much, however, to live in the "Land of 10,000 (plus!) Lakes", it is nice to have a waterfront view easily available at every turn.  Dinner picnic, birthday cupcakes and playground time made for one more great summer celebration.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Who's On First??

"Chutes & Ladders" - Amazed I found my kids at the end of the day!
What does New York, Minnesota and Louisiana have in common??  The makings of a baseball weekend with Jon, of course!  Our very
Sunday picnic lunch
good friend, Jon, lives in New Orleans and yet due to spending much time living in Western New York, he is a huge Yankees fan.  Last week (July 1-4), the
The boys' paddle boat
Yankees were playing the Minnesota Twins.....and what better reason for Jon to visit, right??

Jon came into town on a Saturday and his visit coincided with a holiday.  Despite the 4 consecutive days of baseball games we still had a lot of time on our hands.  With two kids in tow here, Jon had to dive right into kid activity territory.  Thankfully Jon was
Madeline rode with me on the girls' paddle boat.
game to tag along and both kids love "Uncle" Jon, so they were thrilled to have special time with him.

A post-paddle boat treat!
arrived in Minnesota Saturday evening.  We planned that we would grill up some burgers and deep fry some fries for a late easy
dinner when Jon arrived.  While grilling, we could hear a loud live band playing somewhere in the neighborhood.  Jon came up with the idea to find the band and crash the party.  The kids were already sleeping and since this type of behavior is right up my alley, David suggested that he stay with the sleeping kids while Jon and I crash a party.  It turns out that the live band was at a 50th birthday party for people that live several houses away (and whom I had never met).  Jon an I lingered on the street and finally I sucked it up enough to walk in their yard and say, "Hi! I don't know anyone here." turns out that the people were very nice and Jon and I weren't even the first neighbors to party crash.  Since it was already late when we arrived, we were probably at the party for only 15-20 minutes before the band was done for the night.  Yet, it was enough time to crash and even photo bomb some pictures.  Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures to share of the adventure.......but *someone* does, and those people are looking at their pictures saying, "Who's that"?!?!

David and Jon not feeling the music of the street musician
David and I were having a hard time securing a babysitter for the week.  Early on, the only date we could *for sure* get a sitter was Sunday night.  Although, there were no baseball games on Sunday, we decided to, early on, secure a sitter for that night so that we would at least have one night out.  Since we were heading out Sunday evening, David and I decided that we should do some type of activity with the kids during the day.  We decided to take a ride to the Hyland Play Area (aka "Chutes and Ladders").  We headed out late in the morning....thank God Jon tagged along because this place is so huge that it practically took three of us to keep track of Madeline and Jonathan.  After getting the kids good and tired, we took a break for a picnic
The newest member of the Peanuts Gang
lunch.  After lunch, we walked down to the area's lake and realized that they rented paddle boats at a very, very reasonable
Of course the picture after this was me falling off!
rate.  We decided to take the kids on paddle boats.  Since there were 5 of us, we needed two paddle boats. 
Since Madeline asked to ride with me, we opted for the boys' paddle boat/girls' paddle boat configuration.  It was a beautiful day and felt good to get out on the water.  Madeline kept wanting to race the boys and Jonathan wasn't quite sure what to make of all of this.  As for Jon....I must reiterate - good sport!

I have a whole collection of these "bird shots" from that night.
After our excursion to Chutes and Ladders, we got back home in just enough time to freshen up before the  sitter came over.  For the evening, the three of us headed into downtown St. Paul.  We stopped for a drink at a restaurant bar that had an outdoor, and live music (that is, if you can count the street performer).  Next we headed over to dinner a couple blocks away at Kincaid's where the two "meat & potatoes men" enjoyed steaks while I ordered a yummy seafood étouffée.  A couple of drinks at dinner and I was ready to have some fun with the Peanuts gang at Landmark Plaza (Valerie & Audrey, if you are reading this, this is literally around the corner from the Dorothy Day Center).  Finally we headed closer to home and stopped out at another patio bar.  Yes, David *is* flipping the bird in this picture.  David thought he was being funny because my cell camera is slow.  No matter how sly I was with the camera, David managed to sneak in a "bird shot".  It became the challenge du jour, and so I have an entire string of this type of photo from the evening.  The hot tub and some 21 yr Balvenie ended the evening.  I just want to know who's idea it was to stay up so late when Madeline and Jonathan get up so bloody early!!

My turn for a ball game with Jon
On Monday, I figured I already overdosed Jon with kid activities Sunday afternoon and so nothing exciting was
Madeline & Jonathan painting their faces at the Children's Museum.
planned for Monday during the day.  In the evening, the Twins/Yankees series began. As I mentioned, David and I had a hard time securing sitters.  As a result, we did not have sitters for Monday's or Wednesday's game.  It was decided that I would go with Jon to one of the games while David would go with Jon to another game.  Monday night was my game night.  There ended up being two extra tickets and David passed those off to Jeffrey, a  guy at his office.  Jeffrey brought a date, Christin, to the game who happened to be from the Rochester, NY area.  With Christin a fairly recent NYS transplant too, it was nice for the two of us to get our "New York fix" and talk about all things familiar.  After the game, Jon and I stopped out for a quick snack and drink.

Uncle Jon being a good sport at the Children's Museum
Since Tuesday night would be another night with a sitter, I wanted to make sure that I did something fun with the kids during the
The three amigos at the ball park
day. Since we have a membership, I opted to take the kids to the Minnesota Children's Museum.  I dragged Jon along with me.  The kids were thrilled Uncle Jon was there as they explored every square inch of the museum.  And yes, I must reiterate.....Jon is a good sport.  On Tuesday night, as I mentioned,we were able to get a sitter and so Jon, David and I headed to the ball park for another Twins/Yankees game.  Afterward we stopped out for a cocktail at a roof top bar in downtown.  Another very beautiful summer evening!

A lazy day at home
Between their own running around town and/or David & my running around town, by Wednesday the kids were ready for a lazy
David's turn for a baseball game with Jon
day at home.  So that is what we did during the day.....laze around and enjoy another gorgeous summer day.  The kids were also ready for me to do the night time routine again. This worked out perfectly since it was David's turn to head out to the ballpark with Jon.

Happy 4th of July!
Thursday was the 4th of July and what is more American than spending the 4th watching a ball game???  Jon couldn't
"Take Me Out To The Ball Game...."
have ordered better weather for his visit - another picture perfect day!  And really, whether you are a fan of baseball or
Forget peanuts & Cracker Jack! Just buy me cotton candy!
not, being part of the crowd on a gorgeous summer day, people watching, minimally peeking in at the game, and being naughty by
Hanging in the hot tub (I turn temp down for kids) after game. Jonathan prefers to play from the outside
indulging in all the ballpark snacks.....what a great way to spend a summer afternoon!  After the game, we headed back home and David cooked out on the grill for dinner (again, what is more American than grilling on the 4th.......I'll just leave out the fact that he grilled lamb in a Turkish marinade).  After dinner I tried to get the kids excited about seeing fireworks with my own "pre-game show".  I must admit, however, that my "pre-game show" consisted of ground blooms and snappers at the foot of my driveway. Yep, I am a lame mom.  We ended up heading over to our local fireworks display and scored both an awesome parking spot and a "secret" non-park location to view the fireworks (on a grass hill of the nearby high school).  Note to future self: Totally the way to go in future years!  Madeline never has a problem staying up late, but surprisingly Jonathan even made it through the fireworks (or as he calls them "boom booms"). With fireworks not quite his thing, I must reiterate....Jon was a good sport.

Waiting for fireworks
Friday came all too quickly.  It is always great fun to visit with Jon (be it here or in LA).  And, yes, Jon is proud to declare that he has officially visited us most (with 3 visits) out of all of our friends.  Hmmmm......sounds like a challenge ;-)  After a late night out with friends/family, my mom would always ask, "So...did you solve all the world's problems?"  No Mom, this week we did not solve all the world's problems BUT (1) the world *is* a better place with great friends, (2) David & I are the "go to spot" for baseball as Jon already has is eye on the 2014 All-Star game in MN next year and (3) Jon almost has us convinced that we need to travel to New Orleans for Thanksgiving.  Did we solve all the world's problems?? No, but we definitely headed in the right direction.

Monday, July 1, 2013

School Is Out For Summer!

School is OUT for summer!
It seems as though it was only yesterday that I swallowed back tears as I slowly walked away from Madeline's pre-K classroom door, leaving her to the care of others.  And now, Madeline is zipping off a school bus, ready to start her summer, upon the completion of first grade!  For various reasons I am getting a true glimpse at how quickly time is passing.  When I apply this to the passing of future time, I am aware that these precious moments with both of my kids is whizzing by us as we go about our routines.  I try to hold on to these special moments and hope that pleasant memories are being made for each of the kids.

Craft time!
Madeline's last day of school was Thursday, June 6th.  Madeline enjoys school, so I don't believe that she was so much counting the days to her last day of school, but rather the play date that was scheduled for that same day.  And so, at approximately 4pm, the school bus pulled up outside of our house and dropped off Madeline and one of her school friends, Leah.

Puppet Wagon!
I love the picture that I captured of Madeline racing off of the school bus. By looking at this, you would think that she was
Watching the show
beyond thrilled about the end of the school year but Madeline was overflowing with excitement to show Leah around the house.  Madeline flitted around the house, going a mile a minute, jumping from thing to thing, showing off her room and toys.  She was really bubbling over with excitement!  Eventually, things settled down and the girls spent some time playing with a doll house in the basement.  They also danced around the family room, played a little with Jonathan (and he was loving the extra attention) and took some time for crafts - personalized and self-decorated foam sun visors.

Kick-off Party craft time
Madeline was also thrilled to have Leah eat dinner at our house.  A kid friendly meal was on tap and the girls enjoyed chicken nuggets, fries, veggies with ranch for dipping and fresh watermelon.  After dinner, we planned to meet Leah's mom around the corner from our house.  The city has a puppet wagon that travels from park to park for mini-shows throughout the summer.  The last day of school coincided with the puppet wagon's "kick off party".  We headed up to the kick off party for the season's first show and met up with Leah's mom & little sister.  Although Madeline & Leah are on the older side for the show, the girls still enjoyed the puppets and Jonathan was just plain mesmerized by the puppets.  After the show, the kids played on the nearby playground and enjoyed the craft stations set up for the event.
All in all, I would say this was an absolutely perfect way to kick off our summer!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Buffalo In The Blink Of An Eye

Gals at Creekview
Potato pancakes (with bacon & applesauce) & wings - hell yeah!
Me with Christina and Tracy - my grade school buddies
The daughter of one of my friends just recently got married.  I LOVE weddings and I LOVE going to Buffalo, so it was a no-brainer that I wanted to take part in the celebration (not to mention, of course, that I wanted to share in the special day of the bride and her family).  If David, the kids and I had not just returned from a trip to Buffalo at Easter time, we would've all traveled to NY - while roping one of my friends to watch the
Me & Tammy - friends since Buff State 1988
kids so that David & I could attend the wedding.  Yet, since we all just returned from NY, it didn't make sense for all of us to travel back to Buffalo so quickly.  As a result, it was decided that I would have a quick mama-getaway that was timed so that I could attend the wedding.

Me with MOMS Club friends - Eileen, Mary, Kym, Cecilia and Jen
Ordering up drinks at the bar.
The title of this blog post, "Buffalo In The Blink Of An Eye" pretty much sums up my weekend.  Leaving Minnesota on Friday afternoon and returning on Sunday evening only allowed  for some very quick visits, however I tried to take advantage of every second that I had.  When I arrived in Buffalo on Friday night, my friends Kym,Mary (who happened to be the birthday girl that night), Jen and Cecilia picked me up at the airport.  Off we went to dinner at the Creekview restaurant and there the five of us met up with four more gals, Tammy, Eileen, Tracy and Christina.  The gals that met me out are from different circles of friendship (grade school
I LOVE my friends!! (with Tammy)
friends, college friend, MOMS Club) and yet since I moved to Minnesota, this is the 5th opportunity for the lot of us to get together which has allowed for each of these friends to get to know each other.  Soooo fun! I am so blessed!
The band music ended & we moved the party inside

Buffalo is all about seeing all the people I love when I visit.  Of course, the added perk to Buffalo trips is the amazing foods that can only be had in Buffalo.  There is never enough time to enjoy all the yummy Buffalo food cravings I have, however, I do my best to jam as many as I can into my belly when I am there.  And so, my Buffalo blog posts are just as much sharing my experiences with my friends as they are sharing the yummy goodies that I indulged in.  While at the Creekview, I ordered my regular "go to" item on their menu - they make *the* best potato pancakes.  However, when we were waiting for our table, a waitress was bringing out an order of wings that looked and smelled soooo good.  Since you just can't good wings in Minnesota, I ordered some wings as well. Oy!

After dinner, me and the girls headed out to catch the last set of a local cover band, Hit N Run. The bar provided a good place to spend more time together and enjoy some quality people watching.  It was a good ending to an awesome evening with amazing friends.

Tim Horton's - A Buffalo staple
My friend, Kym, and her family was kind enough to put me up during my visit.  I have raved on Facebook and I have to rave here too - Kym's guest room has THE most
comfortable bed.  Several times I threatened to steal the mattress from her guest bedroom.......if only I could figure out how to fit it in my carry-on luggage.  Between that and Kym's cat, Bandit, Kym should be grateful that I didn't "accidentally" have one of those two items land up in Minnesota!

Saturday morning, I NEEDED my Tim Horton's fix.  Kym and I headed over to the Tim Horton's for coffee and donuts, did a drive by of my old house (sighhhhh....) and then ran to Walmart for some flowers to be used the next day (see below).  Funny thing is that both the Tim Horton's and the Walmart that we went to were in my old neighborhood, however neither of them where opened yet (still building) when we moved.

Andrea & her hubby, Brock
In the early afternoon, I was off to the wedding ceremony of Andrea & Brock.  My connection to the wedding??  I used to work with Andrea's dad, Mike, when I worked in corporate accounting for a large grocery chain.  Between our mutual love of dance (and the fact that our spouses are not dancers), Mike and I were always partners in crime on the dance floor.  In fact, with my mom and her circle of friends Mike had eventually became known as "Polka Mike".  Through polka dancing with my mom and her friends to hitting local lawn fetes and bars that had live bands, Mike's family and my own family began to know each other well.  It was nice to attend a wedding and know more than just the bride and/or groom. It was nice to reconnect with their family as well.  In addition to the bride's family, at the reception I was seated with a bunch of people that I used to work with and so, "going stag" to the wedding was not a problem at all as I had so many people to visit (and dance) with.

Probably the only person crazier than me on the dance floor - "Polka Mike"
The bride, Andrea, was stunning.  The ceremony was beautiful as well.  (I soooo miss east coast churches - not all Catholic churches are created equal)  The ceremony was beautiful and very personalized.  Between seeing Mike give his daughter away and the groom's grandmother tearing up as she gave one of the readings at church, my only regret was not being armed with tissues.

There was a bit of time between the ceremony and the reception.  What is an out of town gal to do??.....go get La Nova Pizza, of course!!!  I ordered up a large pizza so that I could freeze it at Kym's house and bring it home (oh, what the heck, I grabbed a slice to go to!).  Buffalonians don't believe me but YES, frozen and reheated Buffalo pizza is better than anything David and I can find here.  I also bought David a Spot Coffee (Buffalo coffee shop) travel mug as he had lost the lid to his.

The "Tops Gang" at the wedding reception
The reception itself  was so nice.  Like I previously mentioned, it was nice to visit with so many people that I know.  But of course, later in the evening, guessed it, I danced the night away!  So, so, so much fun!!  I was sore for days.

Royal subs....YUM!
On Sunday, I had my friend Kym traipsing all over town.  I would tease Kym, by telling her that she was "carting my princess ass around town".  Kym was a good sport and helped me fit in any last minute things I wanted to do before my flight left later Sunday evening.  Of course Kym & I started out the day with the mandatory Tim Horton's visit!  Afterwards, the above mentioned flowers were taken to the cemetery and planted by my maternal grandmother, grandfather and great-grandmother.  I also visited the mausoleum where my mom and dad rest.  I was also able to accomplish a silly errand that I just never seemed to get to at home (because it required sending out a letter), and that was to close a lingering bank account (yawn!!) that just had a few measly dollars left in it. (Yep, one of the branches was open on Sunday!)  Next, Kym shuffled me to the outlet mall in search of boat shoes at the Timberland Outlet......turns out that store is no longer at the mall. I did, however get to pick up some summer PJ's to bring home for the kids.  After the mall, Kym & I grabbed another one of my Buffalo fixes - a royal sub. Although a 1/2 of a sub would've been plenty for lunch, I busted my gut by eating the entire thing!  After lunch, Kym took me for my mandatory Wegman's pilgrimage.  What I would've really wanted would be to lift the entire Wegman's store and plop it in my back yard, but since that wasn't possible I just grabbed some pastry hearts (again, *where* are those in Minnesota??) and a few small treats for the kids.  Since I was carrying on my luggage, I wasn't able to pick up all the goodies that I would've liked.  After Wegmans, it was time to head back to Kym's house to get the rest of my goodies packed up to leave.  After a tea break and a moment to put up my feet, it was already time to head to the airport.......BUT, one more stop for this "princess ass".  My last stop before being dropped at the airport was to get one final Buffalo delicacy to take home for me and David to enjoy as a late night dinner once I arrived back in the Twin Cities.  And so, Kym chauffeured me to Charlie the Butcher's so that I could travel with two beef on weck sandwiches (David's favorite) for 900+ miles.

Thanks, Kym, for putting up with me at your house all weekend (and, of course, for carting my "princess ass" around!
Despite the fact that my carry-on luggage roller handle broke and I had to carry/drag my overstuffed carry on bag from one end to the other of the Detroit airport (my connection) and MSP airport, the flight back was uneventful.  The weekend flew by too quickly but I was happy to see David and the kids.  After a great visit with friends and such good times, I came back home feeling rejuvenated and having a full "fuel tank" - a sign of a successful getaway.  David and I always look for opportunities for us/me to return to Buffalo, yet in the meantime I need to up my MSP recruiting efforts!