Forewarning: This blog post will probably end up being way too long, especially since you will probably get Katie's perspective on her blog. But in any event, here's my recollection of how the events occurred from Saturday, August 2 - Tuesday, August 5.
And before I begin, I just must say that I am lucky. I know some people who don't particularly get along with their in-laws and don't look forward for their visits....but I am not one of those people. I love Dave's family and am always excited for their visits (or my visits to their house). And of course, I love my own family too. I just think I'm very blessed to be part of such great families that love and cherish one another.
Ok. Here's my tale of Anthony bringing Katie and Mary to MN.
On Saturday morning, Dave and I had the Derby Days 5K. It is the annual 5K at Canterbury Downs where you get to start through the starting gates for the horses (see photos from last year). I ran with my friends Nicki and Donna, and they each had some friends too. Dave ended up working the water table. It was a hot morning for a run!
As soon as we were done with the 5K, Dave and I took off to River Falls for the Duane Family Reunion. The last name Duane is Dave's grandma's maiden name, and she's the only one remaining of that generation. So basically the reunion was Dave's mom's first-cousins and all their families. I think about 70 people were there. Lots of family that I never met, but of course there was family that I have seen many times in the last 5 years since my first 'encounter' at Anthony's baptism. Anyway, it was my first official family reunion. And I officially became part of the Duane family as I was presented with the official Duane family reunion button (I understand that buttons or t-shirts are standard for family reunions as I've seen my best friend Krissy plan the Kelly family reunion in years past). Anyway, we spent the majority of the day at the Country Inn and Suites hanging out with family. Then we went to mass and dinner at the local supper club. Then we went back to the hotel to say our goodbyes.
Sunday was even busier. Over the course of the day, we had a summer BBQ at our house with more than 40 people stopping by (completing #82 of 101 in 1,001). We spent the morning cleaning, preparing food, setting up tables, etc. Then spent the rest of the day hosting the event. My nieces got to see their ring boy Anthony. Anthony loved playing the Twist Game with them (aka Twister), and Anthony learned the difference between left and right and apparently learned how to read. After lunch was served, some of the cousins went swimming at the pool. When we got back to the house, Katie and I interrupted Anthony assisting Amanda with taking off the wet swim suit (oh, to be 5 years old and be full of innocence), but it was quite amusing to me and Katie. Anyway, it was another great day hanging out with friends and family.
Monday we spent the entire day at Valleyfair. The highlight was talking Dave into going down the speed slide at the waterpark. And Megan, Dave, Katie and I almost capsized the raft on slide in the waterpark that has the raft for 4. I thought we were going to die. I just closed my eyes as we went round the turns and feeling the raft go airborne with Katie directly above me screaming for her life. Anthony was very proud that he got to go on Thunder Canyon, which was the ride that he was growing tall enough so that he could ride. His favorite ride was the Flume. I think Dave's favorite was the foam ball factory. Katie and Mary loved the Wave. Megan and I loved the extreme swing. Anthony got his cotton candy. We all had an awesome time, although we were exhausted by the time we left.
We decided to 'relax' on the last day of the trip. That meant we spent a couple of hours at Murphy's Landing. Followed by a lunch at McDonald's and a visit to see Dave at work. Then we drove to Minneapolis, so Katie could take some pics of my nieces. We also drove by Lake Calhoun, because Mary and Katie (and T) had never seen it (which is hard for me to believe that they lived in MN and never went to that lake). Then we went home and got Dave and went to my parents' neighborhood to do some pics of me and Dave (completing #53 of 101 in 1,001). And me in my wedding dress. The area where we took the pics was pretty secluded and due to the shortage of time, I just changed into my dress right on the path. So of course it was also National Night Out...and all the kids were at the park. So out of the woods I came, (and according to the girls at the park), I was a princess that magically appeared. It was so funny, because they were just awestruck and came up to me just to look and to tell me I was beautiful and then they wanted photos with me. It was hilarious! We got a lot of awesome photos that I can't wait to see! Our photo session wrapped up as the sun went down...so then we went to Dairy Queen for dinner (I changed out of the dress at my parents'). I think we made it home around 10 or so....just in time for Anthony to take charge of getting Mary and Katie packed and tucked in for the 2-3 hours of sleep they got before heading to the airport to go home.
All-in-all, we had a great, great time. Although with having Katie and Mary taking pics the whole time, I didn't snap one photo. Maybe Katie will post the picture version of the trip, since I just wrote enough for the both of us. Can't wait to hang out with the in-laws again!!!