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.

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