No one from Robert's mother's side of the family had yet gotten to meet Marcus, and since we love visiting the family enclave in St. Paul, Minnesota, we decided that a trip was in order. ("Another trip!" they hmphed at the daycare when we explained Marcus would not be back until after Labor Day, "I wanna be a fly in his pocket, this baby travels so much. Will you take me with you, Marcus? All right, I gotta give him another kiss if he's going to be away for a whole week!") Our plans were to fly round-trip New York-Minnesota, leaving the morning after Marcus's birthday party, and returning the following Sunday. My parents would go with us, to spend a little more time with us and Marcus, and to get to see Grandma Gracie and the rest of Robert's family again, and then when we got back to New York, we would all drive up to Boston on August 31st and my parents would stay for the rest of that week and help out with baby and around the house as I juggled the return to school after the summer.
Above: fun throughout the week--Marcus with mama, Jerry, Jocie, daddy and lightsabers, and Vanessa.
Marcus was still in the midst of the headcold he'd had at his birthday, though, which made flying with him a little unpredictable (basically he'd cough up a ton of phlegm on both of us), but otherwise he was great--we were both asleep for most of the flight and happy for the rest of it. Once in Minnesota, we picked up our giant white Thrifty minivan and started the rounds of family visiting.
Above: fun on a hayride--Marcus with mama and daddy at the start of the ride, Uncle Frank driving the tractor, and Marcus (sleeping) with mama and daddy at the end of the ride.
Though we were staying at the Country Inn and Suites on County Road E, we had a busy schedule: Sunday at Uncle Mike's on the lake, Monday at Grandma Gracie's nursing home and then at Uncle Frank's, Tuesday at Uncle Frank's, Wednesday at Uncle Frank's--including the furniture store, Friday at the nursing home again and at Uncle Joe's, then back to Uncle Frank's, Saturday at Mark and Vanessa's, Sunday at Uncle Louie's and Uncle Gus's. We even got to see Robert's mother for the first couple days, since she was able to fly in from Colorado to meet us. Whew!
Above: fun at Uncle Mike's with Grandma Gracie--Gracie with all the grandkids and great-grandkids present, with four generations, and with the two newest great-grandkids (and Camille and Robert).
People also came to us, of course, coming over two nights to swim in the hotel pool (on the weekends they open up a pretty big water slide--not my cup of tea, but "the boys"--from Uncle Frank on down--loved it) and two mornings to share the make-your-own-Belgian-waffle breakfast.
Above: fun at the Children's Museum--shopping, posing, and painting with water.
We also had to squeeze some fun outings into the mix--Monday, Mall of America with Aunt Martha, Judy, Mitch, and Brady; Wednesday night Chinese buffet for Jerry's birthday with the whole gang; Thursday, opening day at the State Fair with Mark, Vanessa, Brady, Mitch, Jocie, Angelina, and my friend Jen and her baby Caroline; Friday, Minnesota Zoo with Brady, Mitch, Jocie, and Jerry; Saturday, the Children's Museum; Sunday, dim sum at Mandarin Kitchen with the whole gang and Uncle Frank's friends (eighteen around one round table!).
Above: fun close to home--with Mark in a car, (reluctantly) with Brady in his Indiana Jones phase, and with daddy and Great-Grandma Gracie.
All in all it was a great trip, as the many happy faces on this page show. We don't have pictures of being drafted to play for the nursing home residents, or eating at the Midtown Global Market or Victor's 1959 Cafe with my parents, or taking the obligatory occasional trips to Target, and I didn't get to see as much of my friend Jen as I would have liked, but it was a fabulous week. It's always too long until we see our Minnesota family again, but we promise to get back at least two years from now--we'll see what happens in the meantime.
Above: fun at the zoo--group shot after feeding a giraffe, Brady cooling off in sprinklers, Jocie feeding goats.
Above: more fun at the zoo--Marcus with Pop-pop, mama and Jerry; mama and sprinklers; and Daddy (while happily watching dolphins).
Above: fun at the Fair--napping Marcus and mama with Jen and Caroline, group shot with cheese curds, napping Marcus with mama and pork chop on a stick (smokily delicious).
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Created: 8/30/09. Last Modified: 9/1/09.