Minnesota Trip: Family, Friends, Reunion!

Another Minnesota trip has come and gone. Alex and I recently returned from spending several days in Minnesota to visit my family and attend my 10-year high school reunion. The weather really couldn’t have been much better. It was in the mid/upper 70s for the most part and gorgeously sunny. The mornings and evenings sure felt like fall, especially with the color changes the Midwest is experiencing.

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I arrived on Tuesday and was whisked away to my family’s cabin with my dad where we spent a couple days just hanging out. The weather up north was quite cloudy and cool, but we enjoyed getting out and taking a walk through the property, as well as driving around the lake to see the fall colors and the lake level and how it was affecting the other residents.

The last time I was in Minnesota was in mid-July. The water at the lake was exceptionally high – so high that the lake had taken over the side/back yard and had started coming under the cabin. The water has receded a bit since then, but the cabin is still in jeopardy, especially with winter on its way.

{This is the yard between the cabin and the lake - you can see sandbags, the pump that is pumping water from under the cabin back into the lake. The hatch that is partially lifted is the access point to the crawl space under the cabin.}

{This is the yard between the cabin and the lake – you can see sandbags, the pump that is pumping water from under the cabin back into the lake. The hatch that is partially lifted is the access point to the crawl space under the cabin.}

 

My dad and brother are about to embark on a pretty major project up there that includes replacing the foundation, more than doubling the boulder wall and re-grading the yard. These projects will help ensure that the cabin survives the winter. If the water underneath the cabin freezes it could be a game changer. They are doing everything they can to prevent that from happening.

Since I won’t be much {read: any} help with the foundation project I asked my dad to put me to work when I was up there. He didn’t do a very good job of assigning me tasks, but he did ask if I could help get my late grandmother’s room back in order. Since my grandma died over a year and a half ago, her bedroom up at the cabin had become a black hole for random stuff. My dad had been doing some de-cluttering and all of the clutter was shifted to my grandma’s room. I really wish I would have taken before and after pictures, but I got a ton of stuff cleaned up and re-organized. I was able to use some of the “clutter” {aka knick knacks} to “re-decorate” the space. I think my grandma would have really liked it!

Other than that, we drank a lot of coffee and sat around catching up. It’s always so nice to have uninterrupted chat time with my family. It seems to happen so seldomly.

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On Thursday I met my mom at the mall and we walked around in search of a new rain coat and jeans for me. Not surprisingly, we left empty handed. From there we headed to White Bear to have lunch at Rudi’s Rooftop and do a little browsing in the cute shops in downtown White Bear Lake. We spent the rest of the afternoon chatting, catching up and eating. We were joined for dinner by my brother and my high school friend Kelsey.

That night Alex arrived very, very late from Seattle. His trip started bright and early on Friday morning with pumpkin pancakes at my dad’s, then I left to meet my friend Sarah for an afternoon together. Alex dropped me off at Sarah’s parent’s new house, which I had not yet seen, so it was really fun to see her mom and get a tour of their beautiful new home. From there we drove into White Bear and had lunch out on the patio at Washington Square, then made our way to the spa for our pedicures.

Friday night was my high school reunion. We really had no idea what to expect! The reunion took place on a boat on the St Croix River which separates Minnesota and Wisconsin. The weather was exceptional. We met up with several friends at The Green Room restaurant and enjoyed dinner up on their rooftop before heading to the reunion.

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I’m not sure why, but of our class of 275 people, there were only 50 people at the reunion, and that includes guests! It was a very small turnout, but it was nice to catch up with a few people I hadn’t spoken with since we graduated in 2004.

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After the reunion was my favorite part. Most of my closer group of friends who I still stay in touch with congregated at Whitey’s bar and had an awesome time. The husbands of my girl friends all get along well and are generally just hilarious. A few in particular just keep the laughs rolling…

Saturday morning came very early. I met my good friend Kara, who wasn’t able to attend the reunion, for coffee that morning. I hadn’t seen her one-on-one for years, probably. She has had a big year and just started law school, – it was so, so good to catch up with her!

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From there I hustled to pick Alex up and head over to my aunt Sarah’s for coffee and conversation. We had a great time seeing my aunt’s new home and catching up with her as well. I only wish we had more time in our trips to spend with our friends and family and truly get a chance to have more lengthy conversations.

As though we needed more activity to fill our day, we ran some errands for my mom, stopped back over to my dad’s to have lunch, then made our way to my mom’s for the rest of the day. My mom was hosting her cousin and her husband, along with my friend Kelsey and her boyfriend, for a turkey dinner that night. Between helping prep the food and getting the house ready we had a few minutes to sit and chat before the company arrived. It ended up being another gorgeous evening and we had an awesome time with friends and family. Most of us are pretty outspoken in one way or another, so it was a pretty amusing and entertaining evening.

We crashed the second we hit the bed that night, only to be rudely awaken the next morning by our alarm clock informing us that it was time to head back to Seattle. Another jam-packed Minnesota trip is on the record books…