Thursday, August 19, 2010

Midwest adventure - Day 5

Today was another day with not a lot of driving. Well, not driving hundreds of miles that is, since going from South St. Paul to Buffalo to Big Lake and back is still a good amount of driving. Anyway, we left the house around 8.15am heading for Buffalo to meet a former High School friend of Jen that graduated a year later and ended up marrying one of Jen's brothers High School friends. Yes, it's a small world sometimes.

But before that we wanted to see the 'Delano' house where Jen and her brother lived for the first few years of their lives. We ended up having to drop by Jen's dad's house to pick Jen's dad up to show us since we didn't have either accurate direction or recent memories. Heck, it's been 30-some years since Jen last was there and they moved when she was about 5. And no, Jen is still 29... ;-)

We briefly stopped at the house and walked around after dad called the daughter of the current owner (did I mention it's a small world sometimes?) to make sure it was okay. It brought back some memories and was nice to see Daniel walk around where his mommy walked around when she was his age.

After dropping Jen's dad off at the house we went to see Jen's friend who lives on the other side of Buffalo on part of her in-laws former farm. The total size of the land is 200-some acres, so pretty much half the family has their own plots all in about 1 or 2 blocks from each other. Daniel was pretty content playing with the toys of the three boys that lived in the house so Jen and her friend could catch up on the last, eh, 20-some years... ;-)

Next up on today's itinerary was Big Lake where Jen went to High School. We drove around town a little bit and Jen was surprised about how much the town has grown in the last 20 years. It was a small sleeper town of about 2200, but now its a true Twin Cities bedroom community complete with light-rail commuter train access to downtown Minneapolis.

We drove by the house where Jen used to live when she was in High School and also saw some of the houses of some of her friends in the same neighborhood. Our main planned destination here was Jen's brother's house where her sister-in-law and nephew were eagerly awaiting Auntie Jen and Uncle Niels. We had lunch together and after lunch the train set came out. This made for some happy boys (yes, both D, his cousin and I) trying to figure out how to lay the tracks.

D was more interested in playing with the actual trains then the tracks that his cousin and I put together and to top if off the family dog constantly wanted to be right in the middle which didn't help keeping all the tracks in their desired location either. Ah well, the boys still played while Jen and her sister-in-law where looking at pictures on the couch while it was pouring rain outside.

Soon the rain stopped and it was time for D's cousin to show me how well he could swim, but first we had to put D down for his nap. We didn't bring the Pack 'n Play (oops) but after some co-sleeping with his daddy D slept by himself on the futon for probably close to an hour. This was a BIG occasion since it was the first time he took a nap in a 'big boy' bed instead of his Pack 'n Play or crib. Good job, D!

D's cousin took me and the dog to the neighbors who have an above ground pool he's allowed to use. He showed me his super-hero goggles and how well he could swim, dive and retrieve sunken objects. He also showed me how to the use his water-gun (squirt tube). While we were swimming we started to see the grill being fired up so we got out and went back to the house where D was waking just in time for a nice grilling dinner.

After packing up the car (and probably leaving a paci behind) we drove over to see Jen's bonus parents. They live down the road from Jen's brother and family so it was a quick 15min drive to get there. When we pulled-up they were already waiting for us outside. We ended up staying for almost 2 hours and D wanted to explore the grounds a bit so I took him for a little bike-ride around the property. He loved it. When we move to a more quiet neighborhood NOT on a blind-S-curve on a busy road on a hill he's going to have so much fun learning how to do it himself.

All good things come to an end so we said our goodbyes - and made some loose plans for them to come over to Ohio in the fall - we made our way back to the Twin Cities. Unfortunately, the TomTom chosen 'fastest' route turned-out to be anything but due to some hefty road construction and a serious accident on the west-bound lanes even closing the highway between the 2 closest exists.

During the drive Jen was firming up our itinerary for the next day since we're moving base camp from South St. Paul to Brooklyn Center (north of MPLS) tomorrow. During that call we got hungry and stopped at Culvers (yes, AGAIN!) but this time we were a little too late. Closed. Bummer. However, earlier on the trip we did pick some Old Dutch Dill Pickle potato chips which we can't seem to get in Ohio, so we ended up snacking on those instead. We can think of worse compromises... D fell asleep about 30 minutes before we got to the house and was tired enough to keep sleeping when we moved him from the car to his Pack 'n Play and stayed asleep until the next day. Such a good boy.

Speaking of sleeping, we did the same. G'nite!

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