Late last night, I flew into Bloomington-Normal following a much needed long weekend getaway to Chateau Fifty Below. From late morning Saturday until mid-afternoon Tuesday, I attempted to soak up as much Tina, Mitch & Gizmo time as I could to get me through the next few months before I see them again. As one would imagine when Tina and I are placed in the same room together, there was an abundance of story telling and laughter until we were running for the bathroom as tears streamed down our faces. I forgot how much I miss her.
Among the things I learned while visiting:
Gizmo is even cuter in person than in pictures or videos. Many of you may be wondering how that's even possible, but believe me. She is. It took serious strength not to slip her into my carry-on and bring her back home with me. I know her Grama would have had my back if I had made the getaway attempt.
Mitch and Tina's house is adorable. They live in a lovely neighborhood and community, the only downfall of which is a constant stream of friendly people exercising outside. Frankly, it's a little annoying. And before anyone asks, I feel I should inform those who are keeping tabs that my degree of physical activity while in Minnesota included the occasional Gizmo bench press (while nuzzling her neck) and schlepping a heavy suitcase in and out of car trunks multiple times. The fact that I woke up and fell asleep staring at a treadmill each night I was there did nothing for my motivation to run while in Minnesota.
Despite my strong dislike for jelly beans, I discovered that Starburst jelly beans are surprisingly delicious. And addictive.
Flying is really easy especially when you have your own personal travel assistant helping you along every step of the way (thanks again, Cale!).
Starbuck's Carmel Apple Cider isn't that great. Major disappointment, actually.
Mitch and Tina make a great parenting team. They are so fun to watch in action.
Honey wine may be the most vile tasting substance made from grapes known to man. If you ever find yourself at a wine tasting and you notice it on the list, heed my warning and politely pass on that round. Dear Lord, I'm still having flashbacks.
The Mall of America is awesome (and now I can cross that life mission off the list) while the American Girl Store is - in a word - intense.
Minnesotans really due say "eh?" at the end of their sentences (as in, "That dress really is cute, eh?").
There is no such thing as a bad meal in the Land of 10.000 Lakes as far as I could tell. Tony Roma's, Coopers, Cosetta's, delicious sandwiches and salads from the fanciest grocery store I've ever stepped foot in, a breakfast of waffles, bacon & fresh fruit, grilled chicken over fresh greens with avocado topped with homemade ranch dressing, awesome chips & salsa . . . I'm avoiding the scale at all costs since returning because there's no way I gained less than five pounds while I was there.
I think The General missed me more than the girls did. I certainly know he was much more concerned with my whereabouts considering when I called to talk to the girls on Sunday Shortcake asked to be released from our brief phone conversation to return to watching her movie.
Sunday nights are not a big draw at the local dueling piano bar despite their advertisement and accompanying promos for Diva's night.
Tina and I could have cared less how many people showed up at The Shout House. We showed up ready to represent and brought the house down with our mad skills. It was like IMEA 1991 all over again up in that establishment.
Small journals given as stocking stuffers by husbands come in handy when the need to chronicle a night's events for blog purposes becomes immediately apparent. I only have the picture of the journal. The contents belong to Tina, and I'll leave it to her to share the gems that were documented in that little black book Sunday night. I will say that only half of the ridiculousness was actually written down; there are just some things that can't be adequately expressed in words.
Despite the amazing time and all the fun memories made while visiting Tina, Mitch and Gizmo, I have to admit that it was hard to top the moment when I first saw the girls waiting for me at the airport after four days away. Their excitement upon seeing me felt pretty damn good (that is until my dad informed me earlier that same day Punkin expressed her displeasure at my arrival home later that night because that meant she'd have to actually return back home).