A Trip to Door County

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We stayed at The Landmark in Egg Harbor. It had great views, and we loved the village.
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At a pizza place we visited, they gave the kids pizza dough to play with instead of crayons. Markus was not thrilled; in fact, he wouldn’t touch it. But Anja had a ball!
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This was one of our favorite memories of the vacation. We were out on the pier and it started to rain, so we ducked into a little gazebo in a nearby park and sat there for a long time, playing together, watching the lights over the harbor…
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I took a bunch of photos at Sweetie Pies, but we didn’t eat there. It was around 11:30 when we arrived (they’d been open for hours), and when I requested 3 slices of pie, the gal working said 2 of the 3 weren’t “ready to cut into yet…come back in an hour.” WHAT? You are a pie place, and you won’t cut your pies until afternoon? I didn’t want to pay $4/slice for day-old pie, so we left. And didn’t return in an hour. And got pie somewhere else. Sherman signed the guest book, though.

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We ate custard 3 different places, but this was the tastiest.
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Ate at Al Johnson’s, with goats on the roof. Food was okay, atmosphere was fun. I’m a sucker for anything Scandinavian.
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Saw this on our drive around the island. Those poor “ladies of the night,” being forced into slave labor for Bea.
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These are hard to see, but we made a wrong turn near a park and found this odd little boat of Snoopy dogs made of milk cartons. I made Husband stop so I could take a picture.

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I wish we’d had more time to explore it, but this county park, recommended by some friends who’d just been to Door County, was beautiful. Great place to explore. Reminded me of the north shore of Lake Superior, actually. Rugged, fresh, lovely.
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We dubbed it a “trip” rather than a vacation (since small children were involved), but you know how the fond memories stick around and the hard times melt away? That’s how it is.

Dallas, Day Five

had breakfast at hotel
packed up and checked out
drove to Northpark Center and walked around
had (the acclaimed) brunch at Blue Mesa Grill (****1/2 out of *****, it was fabulous)
returned our rental car and passed the rest of the afternoon at the airport
flew home where some sweet friends picked us up
hugged and kissed our kids a bunch (though Markus was a bit tentative around us at first!)

Cool floral arrangement in the lobby of our hotel (blurry)
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Most of the containers at Northpark held cacti, which is not common in malls around here!
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Crowded Blue Mesa. The brunch is so popular you usually have to wait awhile to get in.
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Again, not the typical Minnesotan brunch – it was Tex-Mex fare. But oh so good! And the first meal of the trip that we didn’t split. 🙂
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Apparently all-you-can-drink mimosas are a big deal in Dallas. I was able to finish one, and that was enough.
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Cool dude at the airport. 🙂
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I ran around in that thing pictured behind Husband on Anja’s behalf. It made music. I took this picture for her as well (creeeepy!).
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That’s that! Our Dallas trip. Have you gone anyplace lately?

Dallas, Day Four

Slept in
had cereal and juice/coffee in room
drove to Manny’s Uptown (***/*****) for lunch with a high school friend of mine
Had brisket tacos, uptown queso, and Husband had a mango frozen margarita
walked around uptown with my friend, saw his place
went to Breadwinner’s Cafe (****/*****) for dessert, had key lime pie and chocolate seduction cake (key lime was excellent, I’m a hard sell for any non-homemade cake)
stuffed, drove back to hotel
Sat by pool in the sun, then the hot tub
showered
went to Galleria Dallas, shopped
Had supper at Mi Cocina (***/*****) beef taco, pork tamale, cheese enchilada, all decent
back to hotel to relax

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I often get tired of dragging my big camera around, so a lot of pics on this trip were taken with my little point-and-shoot, an old Canon Powershot. It’s funny, because even though the camera can’t “do much,” I sometimes like the shots I get with it even more than if I’d taken them with an SLR.

Dallas, Day Three

slept in
had cereal and juice in hotel room
drove to Dale’s Donuts (****/*****) (so small they don’t have a website, but we found them!) – two cake, three glazed, all delicious! (cake donuts had a hint of vanilla)
had Whataburger (**/*****) (Texans call it “waterburger”) for lunch, split a bacon cheeseburger and fries. It was meh
Fossil Rim – fed lots of animals while we drove, took video, bought shirts for the kids
Off the Bone BBQ (****/*****) in south Fort Worth for dinner. Had brisket and ribs with potato salad, fried okra and peppers/pickles/onions mix. Super-good and cheap.  These hole-in-the-wall restaurants have really cemented our opinion that they almost always do it up better than chains.  A. Mazing.
came back to hotel
worked out at the hotel gym
watched “Pretty Woman”
went out to TGI Friday’s for late-night apps (potato skins, boneless wings, fried green beans)
bed

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I always get the best shots of Husband eating. It’s kind of my thing.
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So from far away these might look kind of like MN cows (dairy), but up close they are HUGE (and for beef). You know…everything is bigger in TX. 😉

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I will spare you the embarrassing Blair-Witch-Project-style video from when a European Red Deer stuck its head in the window of my car, but let’s just say that my mom nearly emptied her bladder watching it. Good comedy. And a zebra pulled the same stunt with similar effects. All over there are signs saying, “These animals behave as if they were in the wild.” My foot. They are trained, because pretty much every car has bags of food for them, to walk up to your vehicle and beg. Wild animals DO NOT DO THIS.

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If you haven’t had fried okra before, you’re missing out. 🙂
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Dallas, Day Two

juice and store-bought cereal in our room (in our Wal-Mart bowls)
Heidi left for the workshop
Husband worked a little bit
received word that Anja was sick
Husband went to went to BWW for lunch, then Wal-Mart and Best Buy, then finished up some more work
He ordered room service supper, tenderloin sandwich, had a migraine and watched Ocean’s 11
Heidi got back from workshop and spent time online planning next day

See some photos from my workshop here.

Dallas, Day One

I don’t have a great April Fool’s post.  Just not enough energy…

However, last week I had a photography workshop near Dallas, TX. Husband came along, and we took our first vacation together since pre-Anja. It was a fun five days, and I came back feeling so relaxed and refreshed. I’m posting a little re-cap here for posterity. 🙂

Woke at 4 a.m.
de-iced plane for an hour
got charged a ton for a rental car, 52% tax
Mattito’s for lunch, had cheese enchiladas (***/*****)
Drove around and walked around Highland Park, looking at homes
Drove to hotel and checked in, took a 2-hr nap
Went to Bartley’s BBQ (****/*****), had brisket, sausage and ribs and homemade bun, carrots and potato salad
Drove to Gaylord Texan but it cost $15 to park
Drove to Fort Worth Stockyards and walked around, most things were closed
Drove to Wal-Mart for some supplies (klassy, but we couldn’t afford the stuff at the hotel)
Back to hotel, TV and bed

Early airport shot:
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Cool ceiling at Mattito’s:
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The rental Tahoe:
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Walking around:
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Our hotel room:
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A Night Away

Two weekends ago Husband treated me to a night away. It was a celebration of sorts, marking the end of my busy season with work. I needed it. Oh, did I mention it was a night away ALONE?

Through Living Social (love their deals!), he got me a night at a very nice hotel in Minneapolis, the Hotel Ivy. I also got a massage at their shwanky Ivy Spa Club.  The massage was overall pretty good, but the lady did something weird to my hip that made me nauseous for days and is still giving me slight pain.  It felt strange when she did it too–I should’ve just spoken up and asked her to stop.

The hotel was probably one of the nicest I’ve ever stayed in. Clean, simple, understated room (sorry I’d already made myself at home before I took these pics).

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Luxurious bathroom. Oh yes, I soaked in that tub.

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My room didn’t face the city, so my view wasn’t the best, but that didn’t stop me from taking several photos out my window. 🙂

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I ordered room service from their restaurant, Porter & Frye, for both dinner and breakfast. It was fine–nothing spectacular, but not bad. Pricey. Breakfast came with all these cute little bottles of stuff, and I got to thinking about how anything I don’t use will probably be tossed out. That made me sad, and since I was paying $20 for eggs, I took all the little bottles home with me (obviously not the salt and pepper).

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Happy, refreshed mama. With unwashed hair–sorry ’bout that.

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And I came home to this guy, who had recently been gifted some jewelry by his daughter.

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It was a good time away. Thanks, Hon!

Gratitude Is A Muscle

I’ve been trying to come up with ways that we can celebrate Thanksgiving for the weeks leading up to the holiday.  Since it comes right between Halloween and Christmas, it tends to be the overlooked holiday, even though I would much rather teach my child to be grateful than teach them to dress up and ask for candy door-to-door.

I don’t want Anja and Markus to grow up thinking Thanksgiving is just a holiday where you eat a ton of food, play with relatives and watch some football, so I want to incorporate the exercise of our “thankful muscles.”  I have been keeping a gratitude journal for the past month, and that has certainly helped me in working some of the flab off my heart.  I gave Anja a special notebook for recording things she is grateful for, but most of the pages have been filled with drawings of dragons and toilets.  Though I’m sure she is very thankful for dragons and toilets, we may have to have another discussion about the journal’s purpose.

Without further ado, here are some ideas on incorporating thankfulness into your month.

1. A Thankfulness Tree.  I saw the idea in a Pottery Barn Kids magazine.  Rather than spend $80 on a felt one to hang on the wall, I figured we’ll probably just make our own out of paper and tape it up.

2. If you want something more permanent, I love this idea of Becky’s.  You could do a new one every year and change it out.

3. A couple of my friends suggested buying a Thanksgiving meal for a needy family and delivering it.  While I don’t know how I’d feel about deciding someone is too poor and then bringing them food, we’ll definitely do some shopping for local food shelves.  This is another thing that even little kids can understand and help with.  By saying, “Which foods are you grateful for?” and then picking those same foods off the shelf to share, we express gratitude and help others simultaneously.

4.  Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child.  We have done this every year since before we were married.  Last year was the first time Anja was really able to participate, and though it was hard for her to grasp picking out toys and clothes for less fortunate boys and girls, I think she’ll be better able to “get it” this year.  Last year we also made an agreement with my brother and his wife that instead of buying each other gifts from now on, we’d each do extra boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

5. Read books and poems about thankfulness.

 

What are some ways you teach your child the importance of expressing thanks?