A couple of weekends ago, over Memorial Day, we carved out some time to spend as a family on a little local getaway. We knew this was sort of our last chance to get some quality time together before Trav's summer schedule gets intense and before baby Walker joins the crew.
Going anywhere out of town was not a great idea for lots of reasons, but mainly due to me. These are not my best days for lots of walking or even riding in the car very long, so we did what we've done before and decided to enjoy some of our favorite kid-friendly things in the metro. No, it's not Rome, but we do live in a great city and there are a million and one things to do, most of which we don't have time to do in our "regular" schedule. We didn't tell the kids we were doing anything until the night before when we told them that we had a few days of surprises in store when they woke up.
You can imagine how they ran into our room when they woke up on that Thursday! Their first surprise is that Daddy had the next 5 days off to be with us, something we were all thrilled about! And then they slowly got out of us that we would be going to a hotel, something they adore, and to The Water Park of America to swim!
Our kids are total water park lovers. We took them to a small one last Fall and they loved every minute of it but they always ask us when we drive by WPOA if we can go soon, so we knew they'd love it!
They've both been before with our Church but I think Carter was like 18mo when we were there last so mostly this was all brand new to him.
Their kids area is amazing and huge so we mostly hung out there, but we did other things too that they were big enough for.
Trav was "on duty" for most of the night...
While I tried to get somewhat comfortable on the plastic lounge chairs. I did get to do a little swimming with the kids but I had to be pretty careful to not overdo it and cause myself more agony later. I'm so glad I wore my suit though because I think I would passed out from the heat if I couldn't have gotten wet to cool off. It's so nice to have an indoor option throughout the winter but they do keep it toasty in there!
Carter didn't sit still for a minute!
Proof that my swollen self braved a maternity suit and got in with the kids. They were thrilled at the thought of Walker and I "swimming" with them!
Of course Travis talked them into riding on the big family tube ride with him. I knew Ava would love it but I was not sure about Carter. Thankfully, he was into it!
I did wish I could have enjoyed this with them but I wasn't thinking I wanted Walker to make an appearance over the weekend!
These two were out of their minds excited the entire time we were there. I think we swam for like 4 hours or something??
I did the lazy river once with them but Carter was terrified and insisted on being on my lap, which about did me in. I was never so happy to get off that raft and let Daddy take over!
Just all kinds of fun with our kids that night! They had a ball and so did Trav and I watching them and listening to their constant giggling. It was definitely a great surprise and I'm also glad we only planned on one night for this. No way we could have had the energy to do it again the next day, and that goes for all of us! Trav's back was hurting that night, my preggo-issues were all sorts of flared up for even the little bit of swimming that I did and both kids were totally exhausted. We all hit the pillows hard that night and slept pretty well. The boys shared a bed and Ava and I shared too, which was quite the experience. Carter is a sleep-talker who also moves non-stop and Ava likes to be as close to me as possible with allllll her bedtime stuff. We were glad we only had two nights with these monkeys before we got to go home to our own rooms again!
The next morning we drove straight to our favorite breakfast place and enjoyed an amazing meal together. If you're ever in the Twin Cities you need to eat at the Original Pancake House! I often get the oatmeal, because just LOOK at how yummy that is, with a giant side of hashbrowns. I am a hashbrown freak!
It was delicious and so fun to be out together on a Friday morning.
Although we were just a few suburbs over, it always feels like we are "away" when we do these little local getaways. A fun sidenote is that sweet little guy in the background and his Grandfather, who stopped to introduce himself after he saw our kiddos praying for our food. Turns out he is a Pastor in Detroit and he wanted to encourage us, which was so kind, and of course he was tickled to know that Trav was a Pastor too. Gotta love that!
Originally we were going to take the kids to the Zoo that day but both Trav and I woke up extremely sore from our swimming extravaganza so we re-vamped our day and started with a quick trip to the mall for some new summer hats for the kids. Both of their heads grew and we are big proponents of hats and sunscreen all summer because our kids have fair skin like their Mama. The very weekend we were out, Spring suddenly came roaring in with gorgeous weather and trees in bloom everywhere! Ava and I loved this pink one!
Instead of walking the Zoo, we drove to Lake Harriet to enjoy the afternoon and have some lunch at Bread & Pickle.
It was just a picture-perfect day to be there!
One of Ava's cute hats!
And one that Carter chose.
I love little boys in baseball hats!
Trav and I relaxed in the shade, drooling over the smell of all the people grilling out around us...
...while the kids played and played on the great playground they have there.
We are so desperate around here for blue skies and warm weather and this day just didn't disappoint at all!
Love the bandshell there so much! Wish we lived closer so we could be there more.
There were boats in the water, ducks on the lake, airplanes overhead...pretty much Carter's dream scenario!
We got a great table by the lake for lunch while Daddy ordered our food.
Can't wait to come back with Walker in the stroller this summer! This is one of my favorite lakes to walk around.
Checkin out some of the little fish they could see in the water.
Love both of their hands on their knees!
Again, those gorgeous pink blooms!!
This was a classic moment. Carter is really into hugging Ava for a picture but we now have to tell him to hug her a little less aggressively! Her poor smashed face!!
After lunch and some walking around we made a trip to Linden Hills to our favorite kids bookstore.
The kids LOVE this little door for them! It's just the neatest place with several animals roaming around. Carter was not thrilled about the chickens that were "going to get him!" Ha ha! Ava was on a mission to pet the cats and everyone steered clear of the other noisy birds and reptiles in cages, ha ha! We did pick up some fun new books for our collection and we chose a book to start reading aloud together this summer. Our kids LOVE Charlotte's Web on Netflix and we found the book, which brought back all kinds of memories for me because I read that over and over as a kid! We've already read a few chapters and they just love it.
I took a picture of this in the bathroom because I found it to be SO typical for this area and SO weird too! What kind of award is that?? Good grief!
Whenever we go to Wild Rumpus we have to make at stop at our favorite bread store for a free sample and a goodie to take home!
We bought one of our favorites, Rhubarb coffee cake, that is to die-for and we basically ate half of it in the hotel that night!
Fresh bread and toys, is there anything better??
Another fun surprise after the bread store was going together as a family to my OB appt so the kids could hear Walker's heartbeat! It was so fun, when my doctor came in our very crowded room she said, "Oh my, I smell sunscreen!" Ha! She was so sweet with the kids and they got huge eyes and big grins listening to Walker's heart beating strong. Such a fun thing to remember going there for the first time expecting Ava and now here we are, 3 kids later! The receptionist got a big kick out of how big our kids have grown and I was proud of them for being so good. It helped that we had the last appt of the day so not too many people to irritate! But they were very patient and intrigued by the whole thing. Ava wanted to know if Walker was coming out right then and there? Thankfully we didn't have to explain that very much, she settled for a quick "not yet" answer!!
We couldn't resist one more meal outside to cap off our little 2 day excursion.
Carter was all about the chopsticks and Ava ate a kids meal that could have served two adults!
It was a great night out.
We promised the kids some swim time at the hotel and they were all about it!
We had it to ourselves except for the last 20 minutes which was perfect.
Walker and I didn't last very long but I had a great time watching everybody have fun!
It was a simple and quick getaway but just perfect for us! We had such a great time together and the kids were so happy to have us to themselves. It was a little bittersweet as this was definitely the last time it will just be the 4 of us, but the addition of Walker will only make our family more complete. I'm not sure we'll brave a hotel with a newborn for awhile, but I'm so glad we took the chance to do this! We spent the rest of the weekend at home crossing a bunch of projects and baby stuff off our list, which was also great. So grateful for these last few years with Ava and Carter and looking ahead to all that God has in store for us with Walker too!