We've had so many fun things going on this summer, mostly in little day or weekend trips. Several were last minute plans and involved extended family, which is always fun!
* Papa and the kids stayed with the Grandparents at the end of May while I visited Uncle Dave and Aunt Nissa in California. My first overnight trip away from the kids, except for hospital stays where I was dealing with a new baby! It was a super fun and relaxing 4 days for me.
* In June we traveled to the western side of South Dakota to stay in a cabin for three nights with friends. They had flown to Colorado and then were driving through our state to get to a family reunion in Nebraska. We enjoyed doing the touristy things with them. Their kids were 7 and 2 at the time and we enjoyed getting to know them a little better. The kids had fun playing around outside the cabins. We drove through the state capitol on the way home, which was something we hadn't done yet and good to see.
* Papa had a conference in San Francisco in July. The best flight option got him there about a day and a half before the conference started and I joked that I'd like to spend a day and a half relaxing in California. We kept talking about it and on a whim I looked for a flight to join him. My parents were coming to help out while he was gone, so we jumped at the chance and decided to go on our first vacation alone without the kids. We bought my ticket on a Thursday night for a 5 AM Sunday morning flight! We even were able to sit together on our way out. I flew back after two nights and Papa stayed on for his conference. It was very relaxing and great to explore the city without kids. We even got to meet our new nephew, Jack, who was born at the end of May right after my earlier trip out there.
* A couple days after Papa's return we drove to Minnesota for a welcome party for Jack. He, Dave, and Nissa were traveling to Wisconsin for Nissa's brother's wedding and stopped in Minnesota for a few days. The kids were so excited to meet their cousin and just thought he was great.
* We left M.G. and M2 in Minnesota to spend a couple nights with each set of Grandparents. We picked them up the following weekend and enjoyed Grandpa M's family reunion in Wisconsin. It was a hot day on the farm!
* The following Saturday we drove to Iowa for a wedding shower/party for a relative on Grandma B's side of the family. We were on the fence about this trip, but wanted to stay in touch with family. It didn't hurt that we planned to meet up with Grandma and Grandpa B and stay in a nice hotel with a pool! The kids had a blast and we drove home the next day.
* The very next Saturday was my birthday! One of my goals for the summer was to visit Great-grandma at her house in southern Minnesota. We learned my parents were driving my aunt, visiting from Washington state, down to Great-grandma's house that weekend and decided to take a day trip over to have lunch while they were all there. It was about a 3 hour drive and the kids are great in the car. I'm glad that they might have memories of this house and town.
* Another goal for the summer was to meet up with a high school friend of mine and her family. She lives in southern Minnesota and we try to get together when we are visiting family, but it can be difficult to find open time when we have family plans. This year we decided to meet in the middle and take the kids to the Shaun the Sheep movie. The middle of southern Minnesota doesn't have much for meeting spots, so we ended up taking another 3 hour day trip a little closer to her side of the state, on the very next Saturday. We met up for lunch at Pizza Ranch, saw the movie together, and then drove home. I enjoyed watching the kids chat together - she also has 4 kiddos- and since going to the movies was one of our favorite high school activities it seemed good to have the chance to do it again.
We'll be staying close to home now, probably until Thanksgiving, so I'm glad we did our best to make it to these events. The kids are already talking about what bigger trip we could do next summer - maybe visiting their new cousin in California or going to see the sights in Washington D.C.!