Friday afternoon, we packed the kids up and went down to Lanesboro MN - mere miles from Iowa and Wisconsin, this little town amidst rolling hills and glacier-cut rock faces has experienced a rebirth thanks to over 60 miles of old railroad bed being turned into paved trails: In the summer it's a biker's haven, in the winter, X-Country skiers rejoice.
We stayed at a converted grain mill in a two room suite... cards on the table, we were not HUGE fans of this room: It was below ground, one of the two rooms had no AC, and there was a dehumidifier running at all times. And there were no windows. And there was a mustiness that had our children coughing at night. But we lasted two nights there... surprisingly. The third nights, we DID move to a new suite, which was much brighter and more airy.
Though a cycling mecca, we were bipedal tourists: Pamela's back isn't back up to snuff yet, so we padded around, visited amish stuff, and spent a LOT of time in Sylvan Park, a big open area with a great playground.
The first two days, at the park, there was a green dinosaur that Bella just insisted on sitting on: She would spend 10-15 minutes on that dino, lost in thought. She wouldn't touch the rest of the gear. But you know our girl, she's the observer. She was planted there figuring out the whole park. So by Sunday morning, she barely said a hello to the dino, before hitting the equipment with gusto and making friends. On Sunday AM, she chatted up a 7 year old boy, and they were fast friends for over 2 hours. In the evening, she and a 3 year old got to be partners in crime. In both cases, she sort of hung out doing something on the gym, waiting to be noticed. She's cunning that way.
Food was pretty decent: There are some haute cuisine places we simply did not visit due to the kiddles. But bar/diner/cafe food was all done well: Some of the best onion rings of my life were at the Pedal Pusher cafe. Breakfast at the "Chat n Chew" didn't disappoint either visit... Bella subsisted on Cheerios, Buttered Toast, Pizza, and Ensure somehow. Isaac insisted on teething biscuits for every meal... or he'd make our lives challenging. The biscuits kept coming, so the peace was kept. And boy, he would get filthy as a result!!!!
Pamela took a few hours out to do an Amish tour, which sadly wasn't quite up to her expectations... but there were other real life ones she chatted up (and bought goods from), so it was a wash.
The only downside to the trip was that the kids just plain did NOT sleep well, and as a result we didn't sleep well either. So it was a lot of wrangling, and playing, and pushing strollers, and playing, and eating and managing them in restaurants, and comforting them as they woke... So mom and dad are pretty much cashed. It didn't help matters that I got completely overtired and went on a Quixotic crusade against whirring, buzzing, and clicking sounds in our room last night, not falling asleep until well after 3am. Old man B-Reay was in FULL EFFECT, and Pamela was a kind kind woman not to have murdered me.
One nice thing was to have been totally disconnected for the weekend: No cellphone coverage in that valley. There were Wifi hotspots everywhere, but the computer had been left at home (WHAT???). When we hit Rochester on the trip home, my phone filled up with messages and emails, and fortunately the world did NOT end during my absence... though one email ALMOST TOLD ME ABOUT THE SOPRANOS FINALE WHICH I HAVE NOT YET SEEN!!!!!!
On the ride home, Isaac mercifully napped for 2 hours, and was easy to keep under wraps the remaining 45 minutes. Bella made good use of the Ipod, watching the NEW Pooh adventures (Purists beware - it's CGI, and CR is a girl... And they go on "detective adventures"... but Bella seems to love it).
And now Bella's playing in the basement with Casey from the hood, and I'm hoping it's an early bedtime for the kids so that the Sopranos CAN be seen, because I almost ruined last week's episode for one of my coworkers, and I'm POSITIVE he's waiting to return the favor... ;->
Good to be back!