A Visit to Minnesota

Robert's cousin Angelina had a very small wedding earlier this spring, and a larger reception at Uncle Michael's house this past weekend, so we naturally flew out to Minnesota for the event. We flew in on Thursday afternoon, in time for dinner at Uncle Frank's and a nice walk around the yard looking at tractors. Marcus, who napped the entire flight out, almost, was thrilled with the farm equipment and the neighbor's cows. We stayed at the Country Inn and Suites so as not to disturb anyone, and on Friday morning Mark, Vanessa, and Brady came over and joined us for breakfast (make-your-own waffles). After breakfast, we took Brady with us to the Como Zoo, where we met up with my friend Jen and her two-year-old and her (though we didn't know it at the time) four-days-away-from-having-a-new-baby belly. We saw a Sparky the sea lion show, ogled polar bears, and otherwise walked around at a leisurely pace on a pretty hot and sunny day. Brady had a lot of fun being the expert on the zoo. When Jen and I tried to get a belly-to-belly pic, Marcus sidled in between us, as you can see.

Lunch was Chinese at Uncle Frank's store, with lots of cousins and aunts and uncles joining us, and Candy arriving from Chicago, and Judy and Bill from Mount Sterling. After lunch, I took Marcus back to the hotel for a nap and Robert went back to the airport to pick up Aurora, who we were super excited to see. Everyone met up for dinner at Uncle Frank's again, and then Marcus went up to him and said "Ulmo Feenk, Ulmo Feenk, can I see tractors again?" and boom, before anyone knew what was happening Uncle Frank had jumped at the offer and disappeared with Marcus outside. Apparently there was a lot of soccer-playing, stick-finding, and tractor-driving that evening. Candy, Vanessa, and I took Aurora to Walmart to get a few new summer outfits, and Robert and Marcus met us there later on. Aurora stayed with us at the hotel Friday night, and on Saturday morning, after waffle breakfast, we let Aurora sleep in and headed across the street to Perkin's to meet up with Judy and Bill and Mary and Gary. We went with Mary and Judy to the nursing home to see Mary's mother, Aunt Mugsie, and Uncle Jo-Jo (just there a few days since complications from an illness). Jo-Jo is still really feisty, and he almost got into a fight with Mary when Obama came on the television and they both started sharing their (vehemently opposite) opinions.

Judy took that as our moment to bolt out of there, so we headed back to the hotel, picked up Aurora, and joined all the younger cousins at the Maplewood Osaka (Jerry's find) for an all-you-can-eat sushi lunch for $13 a person. It was fabulous, even though I think only Jerry, Robert, and I really ate any respectable amount of sushi. Marcus devoured shrimp and edamame.

Afternoon brought another nap for us, while Robert hung out at Uncle Frank's and watched Brian give haircuts, and then we all got dressed for the wedding reception/celebration and made our way over to Uncle Michael's house. Marcus had a great time playing bocce, knock hockey, and pretty much anything else that was around. Nancy's seven-year-old nephew, Jacob, played with him.

Sunday morning brough more cousins over to the hotel to join us for breakfast, and then some playtime at Mark and Vanessa's house while Aurora packed her things and we all got ready to go. It was Father's Day--I gave Robert his cards and a matching set of movie vehicle tee-shirts for him and Marcus (Batmobile, Kit, Ghostrider's motorcycle, etc., all in silhouette)--and we were due back at Uncle Michael's house for a nice brunch. On our way over, we walked through the hotel parking lot, as we had every morning, to admire the cars parked there on their way to the Back to the 50s classic car festival. Seriously, this was a pretty nice weekend to be in this part of Minnesota--every day we had our own classic car show in the hotel lot, and I just walked up and down looking at them quite happily.

Brunch turned out to include leftover wedding cake from the night before, lots of cousin fun time, and a few boat rides. Marcus fled at the sight of the life jacket, and so wouldn't go on the boats at all, but he played a bit more with Jacob and was happy even if Robert was disappointed about it. In the afternoon, we tagged along with Brian and Bridget to the White Bear Cup and Cone for really delicious soft-serve cones with butterscotch dip (Marcus napped in the car next to our outdoor table while we ate--shh, he missed out on the ice cream!), then met up with Vanessa at Walmart for a quick errand for Aurora, and then finished up with an early supper at Culver's--cheese curds and Reubens or burgers for all! Marcus took his chicken fingers and cheese curds to go and actually ended up eating them on the airplane later.

Pictured above--two naps from the weekend. We had a great time, as always, and can't wait to go back. In fact, Aunt Nancy invited everyone back next year for Lexie's high school graduation party--we're there!


Addendum: The flight home was very nice, even though we took a wrong turn and ran into a crazy traffic detour on our way to the airport. Aurora and Candy got off safely to Chicago, and we got back to Boston with no delays either. Marcus was very happy but very awake on the plane, sitting nicely in his seat, seatbelt fastened, playing with play-doh and talking about it ("Mommy, I make hot dog! I put it in oven! Uh-oh, it's too hot! Let's blow on it!") and otherwise chattering away. At the end of the flight, when everyone was standing in the aisles waiting for the people ahead of us to move so we could too, Marcus was in the sling, when the woman who had been sitting in front of him sighed loudly and said, to no one and everyone, "Oh, GOD, this was the WORST plane ride EVER--I had to listen to constant WHINING for THREE HOURS straight!"

I turned around and smiled, and said to no on and everyone, "Is she serious?" and of course she heard me and said, "Are you talking about me?" so I said "Yes, because you're talking about my kid!"

She hmphed and repeated again that she had to listen to whining and screaming for three hours straight, so I told her that she doesn't know what whining and screaming are--that I could have GIVEN her whining and screaming if she wanted, but what she actually had was happy toddler conversation.

"Well, there's such a thing as an INSIDE VOICE," she yelled, "and your child doesn't have one, and THIS IS NOT ONE EITHER!"

I said he was using his inside voice, and that it's unrealistic to expect a three-year-old to whisper for three hours, but that if she had two choices--audible happy talking, or loud unhappy screaming, I was pretty sure she'd prefer the first. She humphed again, and stalked off the plane.

Robert rolled his eyes at me and said he doesn't know what's wrong with me, why would I engage a crazy person, why didn't I just ignore her, etc., but I said no way was I going to ignore someone maligning my perfectly happy baby. Seriously, he was really good on the flight, and I wasn't going to let someone say otherwise. I felt vindicated, too, because while we were walking off the plane and through the airport, all the way into the cabstand line, numerous people from the plane stopped me to say how they thought Marcus was perfectly fine on the plane, they don't mind happy child sounds, or they didn't notice him at all, and if there'd been an altercation, they would have had my back. Hmph, indeed!

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Created: 6/24/11. Last Modified: 6/24/11.