Last year I posted about our Memorial Day weekend with Minnesota guests, and this year I will do the same! Right down to the part when I must get this posted before too much time passes and I forget all of the details. Such a fun but busy time of year and I am feeling it from constantly traveling/hosting/DOING. But alas, too many pictures are sitting on Flickr just waiting to be presented on the blog, so a post is a must. Also: too many pictures (duh)---most of them are mine but I did steal some from Erin and Dizzy, too.
Ben, Erin, Annie and Luke all decided to drive down to Milwaukee for this holiday weekend, and this time we convinced them to stay in our newly refinished basement instead of at my in-law's duplex. This made it much easier to deal with kids going to bed before the adults (but not my much some nights) without trying to transfer sleeping children into a car and into a different house. It also meant Erin had to sleep on our Aerobed and I know she was skeptical, but she somehow survived! Ben got the couch which I also consider rather comfy for a non-mattress, Luke slept on his sleeping bag downstairs with his parents and Annie in her sleeping bag in Truman and CC's room. Sleepovers are fun!!
Friday I didn't work because I saw a few patients on Thursday instead, but Nate worked until about 4:00. The kids and I were home all day since Truman was off school and Lori was off, so we cleaned up the house a bit (hahaha, such helpers) and then went to a playground to kill time. After eating lunch, Cecelia and Porter went down for their naps while Truman and I anxiously awaited our guests. We baked some (pre-packaged dough) cookies and the crew arrived around 1:30, right when I was pulling them from the oven. The travelers made some lunch and we all headed outside to enjoy sunshine while catching up. The weather this day was perfection and we had no problems sitting outside doing 'nothing' for a majority of this one. Truman and Annie wasted no time digging in the dirt by our side door and being generally adorable together. Eventually Cecelia and then Porter woke from their slumber, Dizzy texted to say they were going to a playground, and we told them to come to our house instead. We all went across the street to the school's playground, then Dizzy left and Ben decided it was time for coffee. Yes. He went and brought some back from Colectivo sometime around 4pm and I remember thinking that I'm super old, but this late caffeine fix might mean a restless night of sleep for me. Worth it!
Walking to the playground, adorable.
Nate got home from work and we all headed to Dizzy and Andy's house for pizza. The kids got along ridiculously well, Porter ate approximately 4 slices of pizza, and Dizzy cracked open a nice bottle of wine for us to enjoy. All in all an excellent evening, even though I knew my children would be exhausted and near melt down status by the end. It turns out that portion of the trip came much later and lasted much longer than anticipated (insert teeth clenched emoji here).
Posed and worth this shot of so many characters. Wiffle ball decor courtesy of five year old girls.
We got home and put the children to bed, then Nate really wanted to make s'mores outside while also partaking in a few cocktails. Andy and one of our neighbor-dad-friends also came over, Erin and I bundled up, and then we both retreated to bed around 10:30-11:00.
Love that I have a shot of Nate reading to the kids last year like this, but I think it was only 3 kids up in that bed.
I am a big fan of this style, especially the below-knee region.
Saturday we all woke up at our usual 6:55 as the big kids came out of the room announcing their clock was yellow. Actually, they were awake and talking quite a bit before that and I believe Porter needed a bottle around 6:00 but whatever, we didn't actually go downstairs until around 7. Luke decided he wanted Nate to make him pancakes and who could ever say no to that face? So coconut pancakes were had and then we left for the beach by 8:30.
They don't look alike at all.
I can't remember if I made Porter take a little nap this morning but I don't think that happened, and I do remember forgetting to bring a late afternoon bottle for him. He didn't seem to mind! Atwater beach is now our new favorite: playground, some other play structures near the beach, clean sand, not too far of a drive, etc. Also, perfect weather this day---I forgot to put sunscreen on my kids for the first part of our day and all three had rosy cheeks in return. Seriously one of the most fun parts of the weekend was seeing all of the kids and adults play on the awesome play structures. I took a lot of pictures with my real camera, Porter hung in until the end then scarfed two GoGo Squeeze applesauces and then both he and CC were BEYOND ready for naps.
Prepare for an onslaught of pictures from this morning, I brought my real camera and was into it.
We came home and CC and Porter immediately went to sleep (might have even been asleep in the car?), while Erin and I went to pick up some sandwiches at The Picnic Basket. The traffic going into the zoo as we passed was seriously mind-blowing and I feel for anyone who might have been stuck in that line! But again, with weather as perfect as this day (80 and sunny, yes!) I guess a zoo pandemonium is expected. The moms came back with sandwiches and we ate outside with the dads, while Truman, Annie and Luke at the meals the dads made when we were gone. Then Annie and Luke took naps, Erin rested as well, Nate and Ben went for a long bike ride downtown, while Truman had his iPad time with me on my laptop next to him. Ah, quiet time for all!
Erin and I ended up sitting outside in the glorious sunshine as all five children eventually came out as well. Kids were playing with watering cans, dirt, eating fruit, etc and eventually the dads returned from their bike ride-turned-beer-drinking-escapade.
So very helpful.
Luke does not dislike watermelon.
We all showered and got ready for our big Adults Night Out because I found two babysitters that watched our five children!
The college girls arrived at 5:30 and I gave them the run down, then tended to Cecelia who was surprisingly upset that I was leaving. After going up and downstairs with her a few times as she decided where she wanted to work through those emotions, I eventually headed out the door to meet Nate, Erin and Ben who were waiting for me. We had the kids sitting down for their dinner of chicken nuggets, we had The Lego Movie all cued up in the basement, and we had 'real' babysitters who were tending to our children. This was going to be fun as long as I could tell myself that CC would be fine (she was).
We met Andy and Dizzy for dinner at Pastiche, after having a quick drink next door at Blackbird Bar...where I somehow won a free drink with a dice/roulette game thing. Moscow Mules were mine and Nate's pick and it was a low-key, woodsy bar.
Dinner was also amazing---we had been to Pastiche before, just the two of us, and it was one of the only places I could find reservations for six somewhat last minute (poor planning on my part, should have made reservations months ago!) But dinner was great, we split a bottle of wine, had salad, a cheese plate, and I had a stuffed chicken dish that was two thumbs up.
Love that I look like I have one arm here.
Next the six of us headed to Sugar Maple--a place Nate has always wanted Ben to experience with their 62 different beers on draft. The last time I went to Sugar Maple I was pregnant with Porter and was the sober driver for Nate, both of our brother's, and Jon's girlfriend. This time was much more enjoyable for me since I could partake in the beer tasting (sorry, Erin, someday you'll get to the other side of pregnancy, too!). I can't remember which beer Nate chose for me but it was fantastic. Next up? Le Reve for dessert, of course. We love Le Reve for dinner but really you cannot beat their pastries and super fancy dessert case. Cannot beat it (in fact, we are now on a kick of going here for any and all desserts out). My favorite is the chocolate carmel torte thingy with the gold leaf for effect. Mmmmmmmm.
Wish I had my selfie stick here, but the stranger who took this picture did kind of rock it.
I told the sitters we would be home around 10:30 and we seriously walked in EXACTLY then. Being punctual is one of my things, especially when 'on the clock' and paying for a sitter;) I got the report from the girls and all five children did excellent, even my emotional daughter and even my baby boy. I will totally have these sitters back again because they were really sweet and the kids adored them---maybe the fourth time ever we have used a non-family sitter, and all of the other times have been when we were out of town! Anyway, I think we all retired to bed right away when we got home but it's possible the boys stayed up for a night cap. Big surprise, right?
Sunday we woke to the correctly predicted crappy weather day, super gloomy and rainy and just blah. I think Porter woke around 5 and drank a bottle then returned to sleep but Annie, Truman, and Cecelia stayed in their room until 7 again. I put in the egg casserole I prepared on Friday and Nate got us Cranky Al's donuts, too.
A big fan.
We all ate and drank coffee, letting the kids play inside for most of the morning and Porter definitely had a morning nap. I think we finally decided to venture out into the drizzling rain by 10:00 or so and we somehow managed to survive the playground at Hart Park while huddling under an umbrella/slides as our children enjoyed themselves. Kids just don't care about rain, huh? I do not like it, but whatever, we tried to think of other 'inside' options for activities instead of the playground but nothing sounded fun enough.
That face says it all.
They honestly didn't even care about the rain and general disgustingness outside.
The playground was fine since the kids did love the wet sandbox and running around raindrops, and then we decided it was lunch time by 11:00. Cafe Hollander had a 45 minute wait so we went to Cafe Bavaria instead. I didn't realize they had a brunch menu OR a kids menu but it turned out that both were perfect for our group. This is when Cecelia started sporting a mega attitude full of over tiredness and hunger and at one point I had to physically remove her from our table, carrying her down stairs as she wailed 'noooooooo' at a terrifying volume. We had a stern talk outside of the restaurant and overall the dining experience with five children was mediocre as expected, but mostly because CC was a hot mess already. My build-a-burger was fantastic though. So that's good.
This picture falsely represents the amount of chaos present at lunch.
A mom and her boy.
A boy and a hat.
We went back home after lunch and put Luke, Cecelia and Porter to bed, the dads went to get the supplies for our adults dinner that night, and Erin took a snooze, too. Annie and Truman stayed up on the iPad this day and I decided to attempt a nap myself when it was just me and Annie and Truman awake in the house. I did sleep for about 20 minutes, then promptly made myself a strong iced coffee, and when the boys returned I went for a 3 mile run (all hopped up on caffeine and feeling very sluggish from the weekend).
Once I returned, everyone was awake and we decided to go bowling and met Dizzy and family for the experience. I'm pretty sure my kids have never been and surprise surprise, Cecelia was the hottest mess of all messes there. As in, H-O-T-T mess, OMG. Just so tired and angry and apparently she really hated bowling. Truman loved it, Porter was obviously quite indifferent and was a bit fussy (competing with CC?), but it was still 'fun' for all. There was a candy machine that made every child extra maniacal since it didn't always produce said candy and sometimes the candy it produced sucked. All in all a grand old time!
Freaking awful toy.
The solitary picture I snapped of actual bowling, in between Cecelia crying fits.
Once we returned to our casa we fed the (very tired, very hungry, teetering on the edge of sanity) children and I used my selfie-stick to solidify the memory.
Truman was upset with me because I mentioned making quesadillas but then everyone else wanted sandwiches, so he didn't get his wish and it was traumatizing. CC was upset with me for an unknown reason. Porter was just upset that I couldn't shovel food into his mouth fast enough. Eventually we did baths and put an end to this day-o-emotions and crap weather. Perspective, things could have been 1000x worse, blah blah blah. But this evening left me feeling rather defeated since my kids seemed to be completely out of sorts.
So then the guys made Erin and I dinner and I had a giant glass or two of wine, and things were immediately better. Especially after talking to Erin about how kids are emotional little disasters and heaven help us all with this motherhood thing, this is not for pansies, okay? Also Erin and I went and brought Kopps back home after dinner, then Dizzy joined us all for some classic custard. Yes. Erin had mentioned that was one thing we didn't get to do last year so I knew we had to make the custard thing happen. Great way to end the day! We even managed to stay awake until 11pm this night.
Monday morning I believe all of my children did their usual thing of sleeping until 6-7ish, I took a shower and we all scurried over to Colectivo by 8:00. Dizzy's family met us there, Nate and I got our favorite breakfast burritos and Americanos (drooling over this as I type) and the kids devoured their cinnamon roll. It was a nice morning and the kids loved running around the outside fire pit just to keep us adults sufficiently nervous. We snapped a few pictures and Erin/Ben said goodbye to Dizzy/Andy before we went back to our place to get our visitors packed up.
Love their faces here.
Okay, no, love their faces HERE.
A group hug in the foreground, moms in the back.
Truman was kind of quiet after this and I could tell he was getting sad that everyone was leaving, requesting to draw Annie a picture for his buddy. Goodbyes are never that much fun but necessary after a great weekend. And returning to a temporary sense of 'normal' before our next round of visitors arrived was nice while it lasted! We did say goodbye to Erin, Ben and crew and plan to go see them this fall once baby number three arrives!
The only other notable from the rest of Monday was that Nate and I were supposed to run 8 miles together but instead we took turns, and each ran 4 miles separately. This half marathon training is really not going so well, but I guess that's what we get when choosing a race that happens directly after a very busy month of traveling/guests.
Thus concludes my very long and rather boring retelling of a weekend with tons of pictures. It was a good time though, and we are looking forward to the next time we get together!