November 3, 2014

Our 7 Day Midwest Tour!

The journey begins!  Monday October 13th
On the drive from our home in Chewelah to the airport in Spokane.

One quick flight to Seattle, then a longer flight to Minneapolis.
We got dinner from Burger King and let the boys burn off some energy between flights at SEA-TAC.

When we finally got everyone strapped into the rental car in Minneapolis and started our drive to North Dakota it was 1 a.m. local time.  Thankfully the boys slept the entire 5 hour drive to Hatton, and Erik did amazing staying awake until 4 a.m. our time!  We arived to Erik's home house at 6 a.m., said hi to the few people who were awake to greet us, and then went back to bed until 11 a.m.

Then it was time to play :)
Uncle Anders working on the little car for them to ride in.  And some friends came over to visit, Cora and Lucy are in this picture.  The other two friends, Misty and her daughter Ellie, I didn't get any pictures of.  

Havin lots of fun at the farm ;)
It was an absolutely GORGEOUS fall day... one for the record books!

Erik got to spend some time on Wednesday sawing wood with his Dad.
The Knutson family's dog, Peggy!

Bennett loved playing with the little army guys with Uncle Ole.
We got to see Aunt Abby, Uncle Nate, Aunt Woody, and friends Amy Anderson and Joyce as well while in North Dakota, but i'm so bummed I didn't get any pictures with them... :(  
I hate it when I do that! LOL!

We packed the boys back into the car on Wednesday evening after yet another delicious dinner from Grandma Judy.  Our next stop was Great-Grandma Lois' house in Bloomington, Minnesota.  The drive went well, Bennett slept the whole way and Sawyer only slept for about an hour but he was entertained by yours truly, and also by playing on the iPad for the majority of the drive.

We got to Grandma Lo's around 12:30 a.m. and crawled into bed with the boys and had a great nights' sleep in her cozy home.  Then we got to enjoy breakfast with her Thursday morning before we had to hit the road again.
She is doing so great!  And she'll be NINETY years old this December!!!!!
We took the boys to the park by her house before we put them back in the car.
Bye bye Great-Grandma Lo, we love you!!!
Next stop... MADISON!
Where Aunt Emily and (soon-to-be Uncle) Brad were getting married on Saturday!!!
This was the longest stretch of driving we had on our whole trip, it took us 6 hours to get to Madison from Minneapolis due to road construction and a pit stop for lunch.  We went a little stir-crazy in the car around hour #6!!! LOL
But when we got to Madison it felt SO GOOD!!!!!
The boys hanging out on Grandpa Dean's lap.

Emily and Brad were amazing hosts, they fed us a delicious lasagna dinner, and of course my reliable Dad had some great wine on hand for his wino daughter :) :) :)
Hanging out in the basement watching the Thursday Night Football game.

Friday morning was Mani/Pedi time for the chicas!
THANKS MOM!!!!! :)
My Mom and Shelby and I all went with some darker colors for the fall wedding :)

Erik and Brad took the boys to the park while we were being pampered.

And after that, while Soy Sauce took his afternoon nap (ok Erik and I took naps too! LOL), Grandma Lori, Aunt Emily, and Aunt Shelby took the lucky little bugger Bennett to the ZOO in Madison!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for taking great pictures Shelby!!!

And then we all rolled on down the road, not very far at all, to the hotel where we would stay for the next two nights for all the downtown Madison WEDDING FESTIVITES!!!!!!!!!!
Classic elevator shot.

On our walk to the rehearsal.
State Capitol building!!! And model Shelby!

Brad and Em got married here at the "MaMocha" as Madisonians call it...
a.k.a. the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

Our "nucleus" family as my Dad calls it :)
Mmmm mmm mmmmm.... sooooooooooo good to be with them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Super cool stairway on the way up to the rooftop where the ceremony would be held.

Rehearsing :)

The happy couple!

Gorgeous fall colors.

After the rehearsal we walked over to a cool pub for the rehearsal dinner.
Emily, what was the name of that place again? I can't remember!
Mi familia.

We walked past the spot where the wedding reception would be held the following night, the Cooper's Tavern.  Very cool place!!!

Of course I did the touristy thing and took a picture of this cow... lol.

Sisters.... nothing better :)
Awesome beer selection at this place!
Thanks so much to Kim and Larry Vogen for the awesome meal and drinks, and company!!!

Erik and the boys had stayed back at the hotel during the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, due to nap time.  When we got back to the hotel we took the boys swimming in the hotel pool.
Well, I should say Uncle Justin and Erik took the boys swimming, 
I sure wasn't getting in, it was too cold!!!
The boys didn't seem to mind the cooler temperature one bit!
They LOVE swimming... and they LOOOOVE Uncle Justin :) :) :)

Getting our hair done bright and early.
Aunt Mary made Emily's bouquet out of flowers from the Farmer's Market!
Her hair... HER HAIR!!!!!!  I've never seen more beautiful hair!
I don't have any pictures from the wedding, obviously I was kinda busy!
I'll just say it was a BEAUTIFUL WEDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After the ceremony we all got a few hours to hang out in Madison before the reception, which was soooooo fun!  Erik took the boys back to the hotel room so they could nap (which they did, PTL! And THANK YOU to Erik for doing that so I could go hang out with my relatives!!!)... I got to enjoy a beer with my Grandpa Haas, what a special time.  He is an amazing guy!
I even ran into a fellow St. Olaf grad at that bar, it was too funny!

The reception was a blast, I snuck in a picture with my new brother Brad :)

Erik took this cool picture of the capitol building while he was on his way to the reception with the boys after they woke up from their naps.

BEAUTIFUL BRIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mrs. Vogen!!!!
My sister :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Some random shots from during the reception.
I'm holding my cousin's daughter Millie in this picture, she is 9 months old!

Bennett and Grandpa Dean sharing some delicious food :)

My Dad and I are obviously looking elsewhere in this picture, 
but Sawyer was doing a cute smile so I like it :)
Man... what a phenomenal night... the whole day, the whole weekend... just perfect!
Happy happy memories to last a lifetime!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And all in the name of love :)

We checked out of the hotel on Sunday late-morning and went back to Emily and Brad's house in time to watch the Packer game.

Soy Sauce took a nap with his favorite buddy :)
My Dad treated me to some good sushi before we left Madison, 
he sure knows me well!  I'm a lucky gal :)

After the game we got back in the car for our last "long" drive of the trip. 
It is about a 4 hour drive from the Vogen home in Madison to my parents' home in Barron, WI.  Sawyer and I rode with my Mom in the suburban, and Bennett and Erik went in the rental car with my Dad, just to spice the drive up for a change!
And once again, Bennett napped almost the whole drive home...
he did SO GOOD napping in the car seat, he has obviously figured out that sleeping in the car makes all the driving seem to go by much faster! Smart little dude :)
Sawyer hasn't figured that out yet... lol.

After getting to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Barron, Bennett went out to the boat in the garage with Grandpa to help him sort out his muskie lures.  ;)
Bennett loves fishing!!! And Grandpa!!!!!  And headlamps, lol! :)

We made a late night visit to Great-Grandma Springer because she is a night owl like us!
:) :) :) :) :)

We left Barron on Monday, late-morning, and after the almost 2 hour drive to Edina, MN we stopped at Great-Grandma Jackie and Allan's house to visit and eat lunch and let the boys run their legs one last time before getting back on an airplane.  
Bennett slept for almost the entire 3 hour flight from Minneapolis to Seattle, 
that was sooooo nice for a change because that flight always gets reeeeallllly long with energetic toddlers!  Sawyer fell asleep for a bit too and Erik was holding him so I bought a glass of the highly over-priced wine on the plane and sat back and smiled... what a great vacation :)
In transit from one side of SEA-TAC to the other.
Bennett did awesome pulling his monkey carry-on bag through all the airports.
After a quick dinner at the food court we got on our last flight from Seattle to Spokane, and then after the 1 hour drive from Spokane to Chewelah... we were home :) :) :)

Traveling with the boys for long trips like this can be exhausting...
 but it actually went surprisingly well!  They are really good travelers and they are learning with every trip we take, which is important because we will be taking LOTS of trips with them in their lives!!!!!
Whether its' to fly back to the midwest to see relatives, or fly anywhere along the west coast from Canada to Mexico to Montana to spend time with Erik on his trip overnights... they will be well traveled little men by the time they fly my coop :)

we love you all so much!

Can't wait to see you again soon :)

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