Moving Quickly...

Things are starting to move quickly now. We had a polar vortex this week, which kept the kids home from school for THREE days on my pretty much LAST week of work at Best Buy. That was less than ideal because I couldn’t really do all the work things I needed to do and I also couldn’t really do a lot of life things…it was -40 one day. The air hurt when it touched your skin.

Bennett was in Phoenix (can’t even expand on that without feeling resentful) but finally got home last night. I have been working my ass off in every spare moment that I have and it still feels like the list just continues to grow. Today a pipe burst at our house so now we need to deal with that. It appears as though it only impacted the garage- but you know how water is. Sneaky.

Anyway- the movers come on the 14th to pack, they load on the 15th, and we leave for New York on the 18th. Here is a little of what the next 15 days will look like:

  • 5th: Sam’s last day at work / Sam at happy hour with Edina girlfriends

  • 7th-11th: Sam and Ellie go to Mexico (going to leave Davis with a long list of things to do and hope for the best)

  • 13th: Sam at another happy hour with work friends

  • 14th/15th: Packers and Loaders at our house

  • 15th: Sam and Ellie at Indigo Girls concert (we bought these in July- same for the trip to Mexico- we planned it in October- it’s almost like we sensed we would need a couple final hurrahs)

  • 15th-18th: Family staying at a hotel in Edina

  • 16th: Store, sell or get rid of anything left in the house

  • 16th pm: Big going away party at Ellie’s brewery- we invited all of our friends from MN

  • 17th: recover at hotel in MN

  • 18th: cleaning people come, renters move in, Bennetts fly to New York

I know. It sounds exhausting. Then we are in New York for a week in a hotel until our stuff arrives, and then Bennett will bring the kids with him to Texas for a week while he is at a conference in Austin. I’m hoping I can get the apartment set up kind of nice while they are in Texas, and then they will start school on March 4th.

Our renter situation is a little different than planned- we had a few lookers but it has mainly been slow due to the time of year and the fact that it was -40 for a few days…but someone reached out asking if they could do a 5 month lease if they paid all cash upfront…and after investigating, it seems like a great deal to get us to the summer where we can either lease it for another year or sell it. It’s guy that just got traded to the Minnesota Wild hockey team. They plan to live there until June and then move back to their home for the off season. They wrote a really nice letter about how they are both renters and have also been landlords and they appreciate tidyness and upkeep. So that seems like a good deal.

Anyway- a lot to do and very little time. So more later! In the meantime, here are some pictures from the last few days. They are mainly of Holden. Davis is a lot harder to pin down. :-)

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I don't say this very often...

The other day Holden said “Mom, am I going to look like you when I grow up?” To which I responded, “Well, yes you’ll look a little bit like me, a little bit like your dad, and a lot like YOU!” And she was quiet, so I knew she had something on her mind and I said, knowing the inherent risk of asking an honest little kid this, “Do you WANT to look like me when you grow up?” She paused, looked down at her feet and said “I don’t really say this very often, but…I think you’re beautiful.”

I. NEARLY. DIED.

Cheerleader Party.

Not sure if I wrote about this, but leading up to Holden’s birthday, I tried to get her excited about having a birthday party. She has never had one, and her brother has had many. Each year I have asked her, she has opted to do something with just Elsa, instead of having a party. This year was just the same- until about 6 days before her birthday when she announced that she would like to have a “cheerleader party”. SIX DAYS BEFORE HER BIRTHDAY.

So, we went ahead with the family birthday on the actual day, but behind the scenes I was seeing what I could work out for a cheerleader party…and if I do say so myself, the result was pretty magical. On Saturday, Holden invited her three best girlfriends over, we did makeup, we did glitter, I bought them matching uniforms and pom poms, they had little cheerleader cookies with their names on the megaphones, AND we had TWO REAL EDINA HIGH SCHOOL CHEERLEADERS COME OVER TO TEACH THEM CHEERS AND DANCES. They thought they had died and gone to heaven. It was everything.

They shrieked as the girls walked up to the door and one of the little girls said “I’ve never met a cheerleader before. I mean, I’ve seen them, but I’ve never actually MET one!!!”

It was just as much fun for me, just watching. Here are a few pictures.

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Holden has been friends with Elsa since she was one. They were both in the first class at Primrose with Rachel Murphy, who became my friend, and Holden’s nanny, and later, Holden was her flower girl. NOW Rachel works for Kelley, Elsa’s mom.

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So much makeup. So much glitter. I said YES to all the things.

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Today on the way to school she told me “It was the best day of my life, mom.”

Nothing feels better than that.

Holden Eloise is Seven.

Well I don’t know how this is possible- that my baby is seven and somehow I’m still 30 years old? Hmm…weird. HA! I wish. Anyway, we took a trip to New York last week and apartment hunted until we dropped…I got cold feet about the whole thing, then I got excited about it, it was just a real roller coaster of emotions. We got back Saturday night and Holden turned 7 on Sunday. We had a great day- especially since Honey was here. Here are some pictures of our happy girl.

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And she surprised us (and likely herself) and go her ears pierced. She was very nervous, but so brave. Little D had to walk away from the situation he was so nervous. :-) It was a great day- and she especially loved having Honey here for the festivities…


So There's News.

The Bennetts are moving to New York. Yes, New York City. Who moves to New York in their late 30s with a husband, two kids and a cat? Me, I guess. New York has never been in my plans. I was dying to move to New York right after college, but I feel like that is a pretty common collegiate fantasy. Since then, I’ve loved to visit, but I haven’t really thought of living there.

I won’t go into all the details, but a recruiter reached out to me in October, and simply because I make it a rule to always talk to recruiters so I will have contacts when I AM actively looking for a job, I talked to them. And then I talked to them again. And then they said they would like to fly me to NYC to meet with the executive team of the large bookseller I will be working for…but because I still wasn’t really interested or taking it seriously, I asked for a phone call with the hiring manager for the role before flying up there because, well, we’re all very busy and we should at least see if their is chemistry. So I had the call, and it was very casual and chatty and it turns out that hiring manager is the interim CEO, and also the long-time mentor of my current boss, whom I admire, Frank. ERGH. BLERGH. After about 45 minutes, he said “So I heard you needed to talk with me first before agreeing to come up here- are you going to come up here?” And so I did.

And then they told me they were going to offer me the job. And what they would pay. And because I still didn’t think I was going to leave Minneapolis and take a job in New York, unless it was an absolutely ridiculous deal, I told them how far off we were on the deal points. And because I was sincerely unattached to the idea- they could tell I wasn’t bluffing. So they created a deal I couldn’t walk away from- and so- we are moving to New York in the end of February where I will be the head of marketing for the aforementioned large bookseller.

I hemmed and hawed, and had many a sleepless night…but finally, I talked to my potential new boss again, and at one point he said to me “Sam. You are in the catbird seat. This is going to be a big move for you and it will also be FUN.” And that’s when he had me.

And really…the only reason I could think of NOT to do it was fear. What if I hated it? What if my kids aren’t happy? What if I miss everyone in Minneapolis so much and they move on without me? What if I get depressed? What if the schools aren’t good? Or we can’t find somewhere to live? What if I can’t find a good job when I want to move back? But you can’t make decisions based on fear. I mean- all of my greatest fears could be REALIZED, OR like Minneapolis, I could have the best experience of my life. My marriage could grow, my kids might thrive, I might make friends I never anticipated, and my career might be so fulfilling…right?

In the end, Minneapolis would be my reason to stay…but Minneapolis is also my reason to go. The Miracle of Minneapolis. Who would have guessed.

So, we haven’t really told anyone yet except our friends and family in Texas. And they were supportive and excited- because they are happy for us- and largely because it doesn’t really impact them. HA.

But I have only told one person in Minne. And I am dreading telling most everyone else. I didn’t expect to make such good friends here. We have REALLY good friends here. And to be honest…I love it here. I plan to come back. I don’t know if Bennett does- but I do. :-)

So we’re going to rent our house, move to New York, either the Upper West Side or the northwest part of Brooklyn…and we’ll give it a shot for a year or two. And who knows what will happen next? I have no idea- but I do know that God has a plan and it’s better than mine, so when I’m telling all my friends here, especially a few like Ellie, the Ohmes and Jackie, or when I’m feeling so cozy in my beautiful house next to a lovely fire, I’m going to remind myself of that.

That’s all for now.

Something's Been Bothering Me.

We had an amazing time in Texas. But there is one thing that just keeps bothering me.

As I mentioned, we went out to dinner in Austin with some friends at a new Italian restaurant. It was a great time, and we giggled and joked and had a great time, mainly. But out of the corner of my eye, I was distracted by a couple sitting across the way from my table.

They were nicely dressed, she was very pretty and small, and yet what I noticed most was that she was so docile and sluggish, she kept her head down most of the meal. So of course I was curious and I continued to watch…and at one point, I saw the man lean over to her, and with a hard jaw and wrenched face, I could see that he was saying something horrible to her. Almost shouting in her ear. A quiet and steady attack that went on for at least 3-4 minutes.

And had she responded naturally, by jerking her shoulders up or looking surprised, I would maybe have thought that they were having a typical spat. Davis and I have been there before- I’m sure most have. But as he continued to lean in, with his face looking uglier and angrier by the moment, she dropped her head lower.

I watched and watched, and decided that if she got up to go to the restroom, I would follow her, and ask her if she was okay.

But she didn’t get up until they left.

And I watched her leave with him, and I have felt sick about it ever since.

I wish I had walked right over to their table and said “Excuse me. Is everything okay?” I chose not to, partially because I was uncomfortable, but moreso due to the fear that he would do something even worse to her after they left.

And here is what I have thought about ever since. Whatever he said to her, reduced her to a shadow of herself. She looked like a whipped dog. And this was in front of people. I could only imagine what he says to her when they are alone, and how it makes her feel. I can’t stop thinking about the fact that he has probably rationalized whatever it is he says to her- that maybe it’s her fault- or if she would act a certain way he would be different. Or maybe he lies to himself afterwards and convinces himself that he is not REALLY that horrible person. I imagine he says he loves her.

But words have power. And how you treat people, day in and day out, is who you are. And I wish I could see them again. I would tell her that she is amazing and deserving and there is no reason she should be treated in a way that clearly makes her want to disappear. And I would tell him that he is a coward. And he is mean. And that it is unacceptable to say things to make her feel the way she clearly did.

I imagine you think I’m overreacting, based on observation alone…but the truth is- some people do this. Some people prey on the weak, and treat people poorly. And I had a gut feeling then and I have a gut feeling now. And I wish I could do or say something to them. But since I can’t…I just want to remember to speak kindness. And encouragement. And to not forget that what I say and how I treat people is WHO I AM. And I want to be proud of who I am. And I want to make people happy, not sad. There is no joy in anything else.

Back to Reality.

We spent a lovely six days in Texas- we flew in on the 26th and back out on the 1st. It felt both relaxing and quick- so it must have been the perfect amount of time. Honestly, I didn’t take a ton of pictures, but I will share the ones I did take. For me, the highlights were seeing Davis enjoy his go-kart, spending time with my family in Fredericksburg, and then a night out in Austin with some friends.

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I have looked at this picture a few times- and I just think to myself “Holden is so pretty. I don’t even get it.”


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We ended up spending New Year’s Eve in Fredericksburg- I wanted to see my grandparents again before we left- and beyond seeing them, I am so glad we went back. There was the cutest little NYE celebration for kids at Marktplatz. The kids (and I) loved seeing the ball drop and counting down- they’ve never done that before and I’m sure it will be a request year after year.

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And then we came back to 3 degree weather, and it was so cold my car wouldn’t start. YIKES. But it’s easy to get right back in the swing of things- we’re adaptable I guess.

Happy New Year!


Christmas Cheer.

We have been prepping for Christmas this weekend- wrapping gifts and buying presents- making plans for our Christmas eve cookie delivery tradition. We are stepping up our game this year- going to more houses- making more types of cookies. It’s going to be fun. Enjoy some pictures from the last week or so!

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Holden loves setting up the nativity scene nanny and grandpa gave her. She still calls it “God’s Farm” which I love- and we very often sit and play with the characters. :-)


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Oh boy does she love that cat. And Davis does too. Really we all do. I even caught Bennett kissing him on the lips the other day. BUSTED!



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Some vintage christmas ornaments from nanny and the best smelling Rum candle my mom bought me over Thanksgiving. Makes for a very cozy sit by the fire.

Happy Holidays!

I Love New York.

My grandpa sent me an email yesterday that simply said “Is New York still there?” and the answer is “BARELY.” Oh my gosh we had such a good time. Seriously- one of the top 5 weekends or trips of my life. We ate great food, we stayed at the Soho Grand, we went to the Whitney to see Andy Warhol, we saw the Book of Mormon, we hung out at Marie’s Crisis singing show tunes with a gaggle of queens. It was the BEST trip ever and I am hugely thankful that Davis set it all up for my birthday!

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On the plane- kid free and feeling like a million bucks.

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Andy Warhol exhibit at The Whitney Museum.

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When in New York

You Eat Pizza

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We also might have made our way to Laduree…for macarons…once or maybe twice.

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Davis got us great reservations at a restaurant called “The Dutch” in Soho…and we also went to see The Book of Mormon. It was INCREDIBLE. I wanted to watch it again and again and again.

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And whenever I’m in New York I try to meet up with Mason.

What a great trip.

Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving has come and gone and we had a lot of fun with Honey being in town! We saw the “Wreck it Ralph” movie, we went to see Mary Poppins at Stages Theater, we crafted, we made cookies, we went to Gertens to get ornaments and most importantly, Honey planned a stellar dance competition: Dancing with the Bennetts. Good times were had by all.

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20/20

Lots of updates this week! As you could tell by my last post- we have had a lot going on. Salt Lake and New York were amazing- mainly seeing Jeanne in Salt Lake- and I’m so glad I went. Needed a new view and a little break from the routine.

Davis’ birthday was fun- we played hooky and it was a really cold day so we went for donuts, went to an indoor play place and then that night, we had a family XBox night and we all played the racing game Mario Kart and ordered pizza and ate ice cream cake. It was really fun.

Then Thursday the kids started their new school- and it’s been so great- I’m sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop. They come home happy every day. Holden has made more friends in four days than she did in two months at the previous school- and so far, D seems to be happy and settling in. He has observed that there is more structure and he also said “It’s just not so loud all the time” and for all of that, I am thankful. They have homework every night, we hear from the teachers regularly, and it just seems to be the right thing for now.

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I think these happy faces after the first day of school say it all!

And I got LASIK on Friday. Okay- good thing I didn’t really know that much about it going into it because I never would have done it if I had, say, watched a video or read about it online. Ignorance is bliss right? It was TORTURE!!! Sure, the actual procedure lasts less than five minutes- but it feels like a lifetime and I literally felt like I was a MIA POW laying on that table while they cranked my eye sockets open and poked my eyeballs with lasers, hooks and brushes. Plus- the pain after was just MISERABLE…until about 9:00 pm that night.

But, my vision is perfect now! It’s pretty amazing and I’m still getting used to not having to squint and being able to see so many things. It’s a whole new world! Kind of wish I had done it sooner.

Then Sunday we celebrated Ds birthday with the Ohmes at the Big Thrill Factory- an arcade, laser tag and bumper car place.


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And a random pic of Holden and Smidge- who hasn’t peed on Bennett in a good long while. Knock on wood.

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More later! Love you all.

Quick update!

Hi there- sorry it’s been so long…we’ve had a lot going on…here is a quick update!

NEW SCHOOL:
We are transferring Davis and Holden from their current school to another, more traditional, and buttoned up school in the district. I think they will really benefit from this- so I am pumped for them to start next week. I also managed through almost all of this transition without punching anyone at their current school- so that feels like a win to me. Let’s just say- their bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired.

WEEKEND FUN:
I’m headed to see Jeanne this weekend in Salt Lake- she is one of the two professional mentors I have had and I cannot wait to spend the weekend with her. She is very eccentric and loud so I can only imagine what we will be up to. Then Sunday, I fly to New York, and I am going to have dinner with Mason, and then I will attend some meetings in the city on Monday and Tuesday and fly home Tuesday night.

BIRTHDAY CHEER:
I fly home Tuesday night because little D’s birthday is Wednesday. And because their last day at their current school is Tuesday, we are going to play hooky on Wednesday and do fun birthday things and then start the new school Thursday.

HALLOWEEN:
And of course we went trick or treating on halloween. Holden had picked out a pineapple costume, which was adorable…too bad she decided not to wear it. Instead, her last minute costume choice was to wear her jiu jitsu gi. She talked Bennett into it too and then when Davis saw that, he abandoned the Black Panther costume he had picked out and put his gi on too…so I followed suit. We were a jiu jitsu family…and the kids got more candy than ever. Wish we would have gotten a family photo but we were too busy having fun.

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The Beans.

Just sharing some fun pictures of the beans. And Smidge!

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Fun at Can Can Wonderland with some coworkers and their kids last Friday…our kids are the oldest and they love helping the little ones. Okay- I get that Holden’s hair is in a really rough spot- but we are on the verge of her bangs blending in with her hair and I feel like we just need to push through.

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Davis dabbing at Can Can.


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Although you can’t tell by the look of his face (he’s annoyed I made him pause for a picture) Davis loves riding his bike and we had the most beautiful bike ride around the neighborhood the other day.

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Do not be alarmed. Holden would find the greenest, grassiest spot and then dramatically “fall” over on her bike. Tres dramatic.

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The two Davises- in unplanned matching outfits last week before church!

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And Smidgey-Boo (as we sometimes call him) in his new hiding spot. He waits till you pass by and then he attacks your legs!

Bring Your Kids to Work Day.

We survived “Bring Your Kids to Work Day” at Best Buy. Actually, we didn’t just survive, we thrived. The kids were great and we all had a great time.

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Also- I’m getting Lasik! I cannot wait. I went for my consultation on Friday and I am having the procedure (laser eye correction) on November 9th! I can’t wait to be able to see clearly without glasses and hopefully not get any headaches!

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Bennett has been gone quite a bit this month- so we have tried to make a lot of fun moments when he has been home. D is loving basketball right now- so he has taken him to play a few times at the gym…and Holden has really wanted to do all things Halloween so the two of them have been carving pumpkins this week too. And then last Friday, we left work early and went to see the new movie “Smallfoot” - it wasn’t a great movie, but we all had a good time.

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I’m looking forward to this weekend- I have made a few plans for myself since I haven’t been able to do much over the last few weeks…so Saturday I’m having dinner with two girlfriends and then Sunday night we are watching the recent royal wedding at Jackie’s house…but during the day, we are going to go to this new indoor market in St. Paul Saturday or Sunday- and then likely the other day we will go to the gym, play basketball, work out, swim, etc.

Oh and last weekend- Holden (and all of the first graders) received bibles at church Sunday morning. I’ll post some pictures of that this weekend too.


Inseparable.

These two are like peas and carrots.

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Smidge isn’t much of a snuggler…he usually likes to come and go at his leisure and struggles to get out of your arms to see what else is going on in the house. Except with Holden. She squeezes him and holds him any which way and no matter how uncomfortable it looks- he just lays there and purrs like an engine. It’s the sweetest thing. We love Smidge- he’s been a great bit of joy at our house. He’s super easy and I’m always amazed at how clean he is. White as the fresh snow, that cat.

Rain Rain Go Away.

It feels like it might never stop raining. It rained the whole time we were in Montreal and some of it leaked into the basement- so we have a mess to deal with- but at the same time, we don’t want to solve it until after the rain has stopped. I’m hopeful we can get the work going next week and that we only have to do grading instead of getting a sump pump or drain tile. Apparently- everyone who has a basement has had water in that basement. BLAH.

Davis is in LA, he has been working so much lately, even on the weekends that it feels like I am a single mom. It’s great to spend so much time with the beans- especially as they are both having some challenges adjusting to new classes or specific kids in their classes- but at the same time, it’s a bit lonely. Luckily I have Bebe’s help- and last night I got to meet a friend for dinner for her birthday. That lifted my spirits quite a bit.

Tonight we have a church event for Holden- 1st graders are being given bibles and then they will practice a verse and then recite it on Sunday at church. I don’t know that Holden will go on stage (she HATES that sort of thing) but I would like her to go tonight anyway.

Here are some pics from the last couple weeks- sorry it’s been a while since I posted.

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We went to our favorite apple orchard and pumpkin patch last weekend- had a good time- but not sure we will go there again. They’ve really commercialized it over the last year and instead of a beautiful hill to run across- there are a bunch of makeshift booths of vendors selling random crap. Plus, all along the orchard there were bright red signs that said “Stealing an apple is like stealing anything else- and it’s punishable by law.” WOW. Sort of took the charm out of things.

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Davis had his last basketball game of the season Tuesday- they’ve all improved so much and Davis really loved playing and wants to play again. Nate is an awesome coach- and I know D loves being on the same team as Brooks.

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Sarah, Nate, Davis and I went out to dinner last Friday to celebrate Davis and Sarah’s birthdays- they are within days of each other! It was really fun and the dessert was TASTY!

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Unbeknownst to me, Holden got into my makeup last weekend and did herself up. Not too bad for a six year old, am I right? She even did mascara!

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She also had a really fun play date with Elsa at our house while Davis went to a play date at his friend, Avesta’s house.

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And Smidge is just chilling! He is my little snuggle bug at night. I usually watch TV or fold laundry or something and he curls up right next to me and purrs like a little engine.




Quebec City.

Quebec City is so close to Minnesota- yet feels like it is a world away.

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It is just darling- makes you feel like you are walking around the set of Beauty and the Beast.

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I purchased a little sketch from an artist in this alley- I can’t wait to frame it and hang it on my wall.

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The boys- looking all FRENCH and stuff. :-) Take me back to Canada!!!

Oh Canada.

To say we had the time of our lives in Canada would be an understatement. We were there 7 days and we enjoyed every single minute. This is probably the first trip that I have actually felt depressed after- simply because we just laughed so much the whole time we were there. B and Courtney are awesome travel partners…everyone is game with whatever anyone wants to try. Plus, when we wanted to do different things- we’d just split up and meet back together later.

We spent the first four days in Montreal and had amazing food, and walked all over the city. Then on Wednesday we drove to Quebec City where we also had amazing food and walked all over the city. Oh I want to go back to Canada!

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Night one, after dinner at Cafe Cherrier.

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Later that night, at the Lobby Bar, before we went and danced the night away to 80s music at Le Tulipe. We finished the night with Poutine and Pizza around 4:00 am.

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We took a cooking class- learned to make Beef Tartare. It was the four of us, plus a cute Canadian couple that we became fast friends with…

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Views from our many walks around the city…

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We grazed on the best produce and snacks at the Jean Marche Talon farmers market- the largest open air farmers market in North America.

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More to come - next I’ll cover Quebec City!