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!