Friday, July 20, 2012

Aunt Linda's House

The day after the 4th of July Grace and I packed our bags and headed to Minnesota. We first made a pit-stop in Marshall and stayed over with Nana and Poppa. The next morning, "the girls" (Nana, myself and Grace) were headed to Minneapolis/Forest Lake/Wisconsin. This is likely to be a long post, but we had such a great time!

We had a lot of things to get done on our first day, including travel. We first stopped at a bakery/coffee shop and had some goodies. Next stop. IKEA. Ya, it was bound to be a crazy day with that on the list - our shopping trip was successful - we even miraculously fit it all in the car! Next up, a visit to my dear friend Jen and her family who now live in Wisconsin. What the heck, we didn't take ANY pictures? That wasn't smart. So yes, Grace and baby and I had been in three states in two days. Fun.

With our shopping trip to IKEA and visit to Wisconsin checked off the list, we headed to Forest Lake to spend time at my Aunt Linda's (who is also my fairy godmother) and the rest of the extended family. Aunt Linda has a pool in her backyard, so our plans for the weekend were to LOUNGE...all day...everyday. And that we did.

This is what Aunt Linda's house is all about. Hit the pool by 8:30 a.m., snack on some Hostess Donettes by 9:00 with your beach towel and a dog on the patio. Grace and I could SERIOUSLY get used to this!


Working on a part of her "pretend birthday party cake." You can see a hint of what they are working on in the market box. 

Owen, Megan and Grace. 

Grace and Owen were hilarious together. Neither of them ever stop talking in their normal life, and coming together was like one big talk fest. They treated each other like an 80-year old married couple. Too cute. Grace loved all of the Brodeur kids and latched on to them like a leech in separate increments. First it was a big deal getting to see Nana - she quickly was old news when we arrived at Aunt Linda's. She was on her like GLUE. Then Owen and Matthew...then Megan showed up. Then Lisa. Then Rachel.  

Sunday was the big day for the "pretend birthday" party as Grace dubbed it. It was so sweet of Fairy Godmother Linda and Uncle Craig to host a birthday party for my sweet pea. They invited all the family to their house so we didn't have to truck around the Twin Cities to see everyone. Great-Grandma Fran made it along with Uncle John and Mary and even Aunt Laura and Uncle Pat. We were so pleased that majority of the Brodeur family, Lisa & Brian, and the Stegmeir's were all there! How fun! It was great to meet Brian, the soon-to-be-official-newest member of the family - Grace and I both had a great time with him!

Grace and Megan at the "pretend birthday" party. 

Yes, ho-ho's on top of a poke and pour cake, which were stuck with the flags that Grace, Nana, and Aunt Linda worked on the day before. Owen apparently has an aversion to cake, so instead, his cake of choice is ho-ho's. It's too to appease the two in the family who talk the most. You want to make sure you have them on your good side.

Case in point - The Brodeur crew (excluding Becky) came over for breakfast before our departure on Monday morning. Can't you tell that Grace is in her ultimate happy place here? Uncle Craig was busy giving blood, so Aunt Linda was tasked with the pancake making for the breakfast. Owen graciously said that she could eat last since she was "staff." Ya, the kid just got back from a week at camp!

Okay, this might actually be her ultimate happy place. Megan and Rachel sat down with her to work on decorating her jewel bag that she got from Aunt Laura on her "pretend birthday." Big girl cousins who devote  undivided attention to her + a purse + a bag = Grace heaven.

Grace was learning all sorts of swimming tips and tricks from Aunt Linda the first few days. She even tried out snorkeling and took a liking to it. Aunt Linda strongly hinted at Lisa that a snorkel would be a good item for a birthday gift. Lisa even found one that was for "small narrow faces." INSTANT LOVE. Proof...

The girl literally spent the next two days in the pool non-stop snorkeling. Literally. Here's what she looked like when you could actually see her face...and below, is what we saw 90% of the time she was in the pool. Just a little ring and cute bottom sticking out of the water!

I'd have to say that learning to snorkel is a hard thing to master - it's hard to trust that you can stick your face in the water and still breathe through your mouth! She got it down fast though - and has been snorkeling at the YMCA and beach back home too.

I'm so grateful that we were able to take some time and spend lots of it here with these family members! They were a huge part of my life growing up, and I have so many memories with them, it's awesome to share these people with Grace. We don't get to see them enough, so it's great to make these re-connections so that they become a part of Grace's life too. We love you all to pieces, and I'm so thankful that you all have a caring spot for Grace, it makes my heart smile, and certainly makes Grace's heart happy too. It hasn't been easy the last few years to get together between distance, busy lives, and health issues, but times like this make up for it. We can't wait to spend more time with you in the fall for Lisa's wedding festivities!

These last two pictures didn't turn out great because we were face into the sun and it was HOT (and apparently I can't open my eyes!). But, I'd love to have them up here so that we can remember what a great family we have!

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