"When you called me to be a Mama, You didn't ask for perfection. But that with every breath, I'd point them to You."

Monday, July 1, 2013

sturgis, reunions and a dinasaur dig

It was a pretty cool weekend.




Picture overload coming... get ready. (I took almost 400 this weekend).

Sometimes having fun with two little kids takes a lot of effort. Especially with a very strong-willed three year old and a five year old that never slows down, or gets tired, or gets full. And by full -- I mean the kid could eat all day long.

But I'm never one to miss a party, and neither are my kids. So this weekend... though not at all relaxing... we did find fun. Fun involved standing in a puddle of rain to see the Sturgis Falls parade for the 28th year in a row. Fun involved spending an insane amount of money for a fishing game where the big prize was a bouncy ball just like one we already have in our garage. Fun involved curling my hair all pretty the morning of my high school reunion only to have it get soaking wet and needing to start all over again later. (To the actual party -- I wore it straight. One attempt with the curling iron is enough for one day).

Where fun is concerned, in the end -- the effort is usually worth it. Because sometimes your kids surprise you. Like when I was sick and tired of holding an umbrella while my toes got wrinkly and my purse got heavy and we had nowhere to sit 10 minutes before the parade started because it was raining and the grass was muddy and I was trying to hold umbrellas over my kids' heads while my curly hair went flat. But instead of leaving and climbing in the car and saying "screw it" -- we stayed. My kids rocked it. I ended up spending an hour talking to my best friends from high school and there was a lot of candy. Kids may be strong-willed but they sure are resilient, and Brandon sang his own tune the whole way home from the parade. And oh yes -- as we were walking back to the car, the sun came out. Isn't that just how life seems to go so much of the time?

We worked hard to have fun this weekend, but we didn't have to go far to find it. And I am tired, but I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. Right down to the sticky funnel cake I waited in line 20 minutes for and the muddy feet I got to scrub off in the bathtub. I have a feeling these moments will be remembered a heck of a lot more than the peaceful ones. (And as I type, Brandon is singing again. "Ooooohhh the Lord is good to meeee!!!")

Here come the pictures. Pictures of Sturgis Falls. Carnivals. Parades. Class reunions. Arboretums. Mini-Murphs. We love our life here. Even when it rains on our parade.
 
***
 
Friday night we went down to the carnival at Sturgis Falls. It was the perfect night for a carnival -- evidenced by the huge crowd and the long line at the only ticket stand they had open. We waited in line for tickets twice because we didn't buy enough for the first time.
 



 
First up was the mini-rollercoaster. Jaden didn't hesitate to get on, but Brandon backed out at the last minute. Jaden had fun and said it was his favorite ride, but I think even our five year old is looking for a bigger thrill. After all, he has conquered the water slides at Wisconsin Dells and the Log ride at Adventureland. ;)
 




 
 
From there, we had to hit the bumper cars. These were Jaden's favorite at Adventureland last summer, and it was Brandon's first experience with them. He giggled and giggled! I kept waiting for him to get whiplash as he was barely tall enough to fit over the seat bar, but he was smiling the whole time.
 




Our little shorty!





 
 
Other rides included the spinning monkeys -- that Brandon enjoyed at the beginning until Jaden got them spinning so fast that Brandon was definitely ready to get off. And the much calmer ride -- the whales that did nothing but turn in circles. These were Brandon's favorite. I'm not sure I'll get him on any rollercoasters anytime soon. ;)
 







 
 
After a stop at the bouncy house, it was time for a snack and lemonade. The funnel cake was a hit.
 






 
We even got to see the train go by.
 



 
 
Saturday morning was parade morning. I don't know what it is about the Sturgis parade, but it always draws a big crowd -- and a lot of parade entries! It was my 10-year reunion weekend and one of my best friends from high school was back in town. Her parents live along the parade route so she had invited us to watch from their front yard. We walked several blocks to get there from where we parked and just as we were reaching her yard, the clouds opened up and it started pouring. We were prepared for a little sprinkle, but not a downpour that lasted for an hour. I was ready to pack it up and head back to the car, but Cody insisted on staying, and I'm glad we did. The kids were troopers -- they held their own umbrellas and sat still for the entire thing. Of course it helped that they got lots of candy this year, and I got to spend the entire hour talking with my friends.
 





 
Saturday night Cody and I headed to my class reunion. I wasn't sure what to expect for a turnout -- even with a class size of almost 400 -- but we filled the bar and the rooftop for three hours. We had a really good time -- especially with some of my closest friends that have moved far away.
 
Instagram pic of Annalisa and me. She was my best friend back in the day, and so many stories were relived this weekend. "Trouble seekers for life."
 
 
After church on Sunday and after I visited the Sturgis arts and crafts fair with Mom, we headed to the local Arboretum. This hidden gem had been on my bucket list for a long time, and the day was absolutely perfect for it. My boys (husband included) loved it here, and we will be going back. With our picnic basket.
 





 
It was a little bright!
 





 
They have a wonderful children's garden complete with musical activities, places to feed the fish, building blocks, a mechanical train and a dinosaur dig. We could have stayed there all day.
 














 
Brandon spent his time making "sand cakes" and Jaden insisted he was finding all sorts of dinosaur bones and eggs.
 












 
We literally had to drag Brandon kicking and screaming out of here.
 



 
Feeding the fish...
 






 
 
We ended our weekend with some mini-Papa Murphy's pizzas made by our boys' own hands. These are such a cute idea, and the boys seemed to enjoy their pizzas even more knowing they had a hand in putting them together.
 
 










 
 
Looking forward to a short work week, some fireworks and the red white and blue!