Monday, November 30, 2015

Giving Thanks!

This past week was marvelous and SO good for the soul!

John and I spent the week with my parents in Minnesota, and it was such a treat to be with family over the holidays. We don't live near any family, and it can be difficult to find time to get together since everyone is so busy (and, in fact, it had been almost a year since we had last seen my parents!), so our time together was certainly not taken for granted!

We arrived in Minneapolis last Sunday, and although it was cold, there wasn't any snow - but you best believe we were still excited to break out our not-often-worn cold weather gear. My parents have a condo downtown, so we spent the day walking around shops in the North Loop (Filson was a must-stop for John...).

Monday morning my mom and I headed up to Fergus Falls with my Aunt Kathy to see my grandma and grandpa. It was wonderful catching up with them, and we enjoyed a tasty dinner at Mabel Murphy's. We stayed up late playing cards, drinking wine, and watching Steven Colbert prank the Butterball hotline.

Both my dad and mom grew up in Fergus Falls, so it was fun being shown around town and clued in to all of the old spots. In fact (!), the booth below (from Mabel Murphy's) is the same booth that my mom and dad had their first date in - how fun is that?! I couldn't help but take a picture of it. :)

Getting to see my grandma and grandpa was so special and really the icing on a pretty perfect trip! I have a lot of good memories from visiting them when I was younger (one of them being walking to a local gas station to get candy that is now out of business - boo!), and it was nice to be able to go back to visit... I miss them already!

When my mom and I were in Fergus Falls, John and my dad stayed back for work. John's firm has an office in Minneapolis, and it just so happens to be right next to the building that my dad works in, so they walked to and from work together every day!

And although they had to work all week, they were able to sneak in a happy hour and a Timberwolves basketball game. I'm not going to lie, I was a little jealous that I wasn't able to join!

One thing you need to know about my mom is that she is a phenomenal cook - like seriously, I think the reason I am so bad at making dinners is because growing up she did all the cooking... and any attempt I made at cooking would pale in comparison - so I left the work to the professionals! She made soup, salads, steak, dumplings, etc.

But, I do love desserts!! And I made a tasty homemade creme brulee (with her supervision, of course)... I even used my dad's blow torch to melt the sugar!

And they were pretty tasty, if I do say so myself! 

Wednesday morning my mom and I got our hair blow dried, and it was amazing! If there is one thing I love, it's a good blow dry. My hair is pretty long, and I normally let it air dry and then curl it with a wand since blowing it out takes forever. So having someone else do all the hard work for me was totally welcomed!

After our blow outs we had a tasty lunch at Agriculture and did some shopping while waiting for my dad and John to get off of work - a pretty perfect day, if you ask me!

Once my dad and John got off of work, we met them downtown for a happy hour at The Oceanaire. One of the great things about my parents living downtown is their access to so many awesome restaurants and happy hours... many within walking distance! 

Our food was delicious, and our dessert basically could have served an army... it was huge! Death by chocolate is certainly an accurate name for that dessert (and I loved every single bite of it!).

My parents make me really excited to grow old with John... they have such a beautiful marriage, and I am so blessed to call them my parents!

We woke up Thursday morning, Thanksgiving, and sure enough it was snowing! My parents have a great view from their condo, and the snow made the cold weather and scenery all the more festive.

John and I were so excited it was snowing, and we even decided to brave the weather with my dad for a walk around the Mississippi river... complete with snow ball throwing contests. I would love to say I had the most accurate throw, but my dad definitely wins that one.

Although it was chilly, a walk before our massive Thanksgiving meal was a good decision. 

Thanksgiving was spent at my uncle Nick and aunt Kathy's home. Similar to my mom, my Aunt Kathy is an incredible cook - and the food was delicious! If you ask me, John even went a bit overboard (I think he may have had 4ths at dinner and then finished them evening with 3 slices of pie... I was a little alarmed, but he assured me it was acceptable).

We followed up dinner with card games... and spoons. If you have ever played spoons before, you know that it can get pretty violent with competitive people (which we indeed are...). My cousin Hannah took home the "W", and although I didn't win, the game ended with zero casualties, which is basically a win in my book (you gotta end well so people are willing to play again!).

Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving if it didn't end with puppy cuddles; and although it wasn't my pup, my parents' dog Molly is the next best thing!

On Friday morning my mom and I made a quick stop to see my aunt Janine and cousins, and then headed to Stillwater for the day with my aunt Kathy. Stillwater is a super charming town on the St. Croix River, which divides Wisconsin and Minnesota. I couldn't help but be a little giddy seeing the Christmas decorations everywhere!

We had lunch and cocktails at a super fun place called Lolos. Although I later regretted eating my massive burger topped with pork belly and an extra order of homemade potato chips (hello Thanksgiving, round 2), the food was absolutely delicious.

Along with the delicious food, they had an awesome cocktail menu with super unique and quite frankly, unusual choices. Take for example the "Coffee & Cigarettes... a Joe Goulet Story" which had bourbon, coffee, donuts, ciggarettes, and bacon - what?!! Crazy, I know! Another cocktail incorporated popcorn (which I can totally get behind, by the way).

On the way home from Stillwater, we stopped to pick out a Christmas tree for my parents' condo. Since John and I have a fake tree this year, it was extra fun to still get to participate in picking out a live one (even if it wasn't coming home with me!).

While we were in Stillwater, John, my uncle Nick, and cousin Noah went pheasant hunting. They have the sweetest English Setting named Millie, and boy, this dog is a cutie... I pretty much cuddled her all Thanksgiving, ha!

Since John normally hunts alone (I will tag along but not actually shoot anything), he had a blast getting to go with people who actually hunt... and not to mention, they brought home a ton of birds!

Friday night my parents bought tickets to go to a dinner theatre to see Sister Act - and it was so fun! I love musicals, and it was fun to be able to have dinner and dessert while watching the show.

We had awesome seats, and to be honest, perhaps too awesome - we had a couple close calls with audience participation (thank you, Jesus, for avoiding that...). We really aren't audience participation kind of people, so I was thankful that we were able to avoid that (loosening up is one of my New Year's resolutions, but I will start working on that in 2016, ha!).

My parents are certainly the hostess with the mostess... truly, they showed us such a good time, and this trip really meant a lot to both John and me. We are so thankful that we were able to go, and cannot wait to see both my dad and mom again soon. And thankfully, we will see them again soon because they are planning a trip to Texas at the end of December - whoop whoop!

Saturday morning (3:15AM, to be exact...), John left for the airport to head home, and believe it or not, he just about missed his 5AM flight because the airport was absolutely slammed! John and I booked our flights separately, and my flight didn't get in until 1AM... and although the airport wasn't as busy, absolutely everything was closed. Literally, not even the magazine store were open, and I was starving (I guess that's what happens when you stretch your stomach all week!).

After landing in San Antonio, all I could muster up in a text message to John was to "please bring pizza" - haha, and in sure enough form, he did. If there is one thing I know for sure, it is that God made that man for me!

Our Sunday was spent recuperating after a late flight, cleaning up our home, and lovin' on our much missed pup! AND, it was the first Sunday of Advent. My mom and I are doing the She Reads Truth Advent (anyone else doing this Advent too?!), and my dad and John are doing the He Reads Truth version... and I am so excited to celebrate and prepare our hearts for the most beautiful time of the year!


  1. I used to play spoons all the time! And yes that game can get very intense lol. I love that you got a picture of your parents' first date spot!! And your creme brule looks delicious!

  2. Glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your parents although it looks incredibly cold there! That cake looks amazing, death by chocolate indeed but if I'm gonna go, that's the way to go! Haha! And love the pizza text! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

  3. Looks like it was a great Thanksgiving weekend filled with family, good food (omg that creme brulee) and lots of fun time out! Hope you're recovered from it all!

  4. What a wonderful weekend!! I am loving your hair - it's so long and gorgeous! So glad you got to see your grandparents too - what a treat!! Happy Monday and I could totally go for your creme brule right now! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  5. Chris worked for Wells Fargo for a long time and has visited Minneapolis, but I have never been there. He really enjoyed it though. He also has a picture in front of the Wells Fargo wagon too!! Haha. Wonderful photos though and I'm glad that you had a fun trip!! I'm sure that it also feels great to be back in the warmer weather! :-)

  6. Great pictures pretty lady! Looks like a fun weekend... and so cold!

  7. Your grandparents are the cutest!!! I love them!! What an amazing blessing to get to spend that week at home (so much harder as an adult!!) with your family!! Love that you did it! And... love that sweet husband of yours! Bringing pizza at 1am... he's a keeper for sure. ;)

  8. it was cold in chicago too! it was actually really refreshing..for a week ;) xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  9. I know what you mean about family time being good for the soul! So glad you got that time packed in. Your blow out looks gorgeous! Also, the food all looked amazing. We are big spoons people in my family too. It can get very intense!

  10. Wow - what a weekend! Seriously, you and your mom look so much alike, and I love how much tradition you got to see on your visit. That first date booth is the cutest!

  11. Wow!!! You had an amazing Thanksgiving! Y'all did a lot :) Sounds like it was a blast. Can I just say, your mom is gorgeous!! Both of you look so pretty in all of those photos. Good job on the creme brulee! Haha love that John brought you sweet. Welcome back to Texas!

  12. What an awesome, fun trip! We are doing that study too, but we're doing the She version together over dinner each night. It was just easier to buy one book and share. If you know of any Christmas things in SA that have been rumored to be just amazing, send them my way. We're heading that way later this week!

  13. What a wonderful trip - y'all were busy! Btw, your hair looks gorgeous!! :)

  14. Awe... it looks like you had such a great Thanksgiving!!

  15. Sounds like a fun-filled trip. The homemade creme brulee looks amazing!

  16. What an amazing Thanksgiving!! Looks like y'all got to do a ton of stuff and that's so nice you got to spend so much time with your family!

  17. You and your mom look like sisters!!!! Such a fun week, loved reading all about it! We saw Blue Man Group this past weekend and were on the front row and I got picked to participate UGH I am totally not a participation kind of person either.


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