Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Road Trip - Minneapolis {Wedding / Heading Home}

Note: If you followed our travels on Instagram, these pictures are pretty much the same. But, enjoy them just the same!

Wait! Did you see the pictures from yesterday's adventures? Click here!

Wedding Day!!! How exciting!! YAY!! Let me just tell you this day was amazing, exciting, crazy, super fun! Jason, who was one of the Best Men, and two of my boys, who were ring bearers ALL had to be ready and at the church bright and early Saturday morning. Of course, this meant that I had to be completely dressed, hair, makeup, etc before them to have them ready and also feed/dress a baby. I don't believe I ever got that ready that fast in a long time.

Oh, but wait. As prepared as I typically am, I was not at 100% without my coffee beforehand... When we got to the church, Jason and the boys headed in with their "finish getting ready" bags. But, where are the boys' shirts and ties??? Oh. My. Gosh. Back at the hotel. That I already checked out of...

So, what's a mama to do? Floor it through downtown Minneapolis using GPS, no thanks to Siri by the way. Yeah, apparently, I am too Southern for her and she has no idea what I was asking for. Grrr. I also called the hotel, while running a red light or two (Hey! In my defense, those lights aren't even in the right place. They are off to the side - not over the road. What is that about? Ugh. Northerners.) hoping that they had the shirts. And, begging that they bring them out as I still had Austin in the car.

Thankfully, as I pulled up, the awesome valet came out with my two tiny shirts and ties!!! Back to the church we go! So glad I got back in time for the photographer.Time for the wedding!!

 Ahhhh!!! My handsome men ready for the wedding!

Cuties playing around just before to get the giggles out :)

Side note: As soon as I get a hold of some more wedding photos to share, I will update this post. :)

 My amazing husband giving his Best Man speech - I hope our boys continue to be best friends as Jason and Justin are. Just so sweet. 

Crazy Side Story:

After the reception was coming to a close, it was time for us to do a wardrobe change and head back to the South to thaw out. I kid... But, really. It was time for us to head back home. We ran into some crazy construction traffic - again. While Jason drove the first half to St. Louis, we talked and laughed about our wedding and such. But as we, kept talking and driving...we ran into snow. Yep. Snow.

 First it was nothing. Just some flakes that make the windmills appear even spookier. 

 And, then, it turned into more snow. We are driving SOUTH, aren't we?

 Then, it was a LOT of snow. 

 By this point...I was checking the radar to figure out where it ended and what storm warnings/watches were where. Yeah. After we passed Cedar Rapids, Iowa it was decided. We were going to drive ALL THE WAY HOME. All the way home with 3 little guys and two tired parents. 

As it was getting darker, the Leapsters were handed over (we let them keep them for as long as need to get the safe driving without the whining taken care of) and we announced that it was bedtime. Andrew was pretty tired so he was kind of ok with it. By they were both highly confused as to where the hotel was... Well, after stopping for gas, high caffeine coffee, potty breaks, and getting the boys comfy, it was my turn to drive. And, the chaos began.

Austin decided to get mad about being his seat or scared about the dark or something. We aren't really sure. Jason climbed into the back and gave him another bottle while telling him a version of Goodnight Moon (the book I read to him every night before bed). It was the sweetest and funniest thing ever to hear. 

"Goodnight moon. Goodnight room. Goodnight light and the red balloon.
Goodnight van. Goodnight mommy. Goodnight Andrew. Goodnight Alex.
Goodnight Tusker. Goodnight Roary. Goodnight Baby Fox.
Goodnight cooler. Goodnight snacks. Goodnight Austin."

It went on for a while. I was cracking up and getting teary eyed at the same time. It was adorable. I have the best husband...he is such an amazing dad...

Anyway, that was only one out of the three. Luckily, Andrew fell asleep. Two down. One to go. And that one was rough. He was beginning to pitch a bloody fit from you know where... Thankfully, Siri came to the rescue (apparently she can understand Jason better) and found us a 24 hour CVS in St. Louis. Jason ran in a grabbed some Zarbee's Kids Sleep... Night, Night Alex. In a half hour he was out.

3 AM rolled around and this mama was getting tired... We stop for more gas (which by the way... BP Gas SUCKS! Worst gas ever. Killed our mileage. But, it was the ONLY one most of the way... And the wind. The wind was terrible.), coffee for Jason and made the switcheroo. I fell asleep on and off, but he got us McDonald's at 6 am for breakfast in Tennessee, just north of Nashville.

We let the boys play in the play place (something we don't typically do at McDonald's because they are gross) to let out some energy. Once everyone was fed, happy, and ready to get home, we left with me driving again. 

And, finally...we made it home.

It took us 19.5 hours from Minneapolis to Home Sweet Home. 

We made it home just before 10 am. Everyone was happy to be out of the van, as great as it was. Andrew and Alex instantly got out the train tracks while Austin played happily, stretching out his little legs, in his bouncy seat.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures and stories of our adventures!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Road Trip - Adventures in Minneapolis {Mall of America / Rehearsal Dinner}

Note: If you followed our travels on Instagram, these pictures are pretty much the same. But, enjoy them just the same!

Wait! Did you see what we did in Minneapolis yesterday? Click here!

Day 4 - We headed back to the Mall of America to see more of it - that place is really over-the-top gigantic. You have to go more than once. And, we didn't even see all of it... And, honestly, it is too big. Yes, I know. I LOVE to shop, but wow. I never realized I had anxiety issues until I went there. Holy moly! It was a lot of fun though!

Kix and Leapsters - a perfect morning vacation ritual 

Andrew is in Lego heaven!

Having a blast!

Andrew and Alex got to pick out some more Legos to add to their growing collection

Cool mom points haha! I love my boys so much!!

Why, yes, that is a transformer guy of some sort. And, yes, is is built out of Legos! WOW!

More Lego creations
Riding the train back to the hotel to get ready for the rehearsal - Alex loved watching the tracks go by

Love him!

At the church practicing their ring bearer duties - so cute!

   Mommy and Alex / Andrew and Daddy at the Rehearsal Dinner

The Future Mr. and Mrs. Justin Woyak ( the time of the picture anyway LOL)!!!

My sweet husband holding a very sleepy baby Austin - love them!
Thanks, Dave, for the last 2 pictures!!


Road Trip - Adventures in Mineapolis (Sightseeing}

Note: If you followed our travels on Instagram, these pictures are pretty much the same. But, enjoy them just the same!

Wait! Did you miss Day 2? Click here!

Since we were able to make it a day before the rest of the family got it, we did a bit of sightseeing. And, oh my! It was a lot of fun. We drove over to St. Paul and we walked all over Minneapolis. It was a lot of fun. The boys LOVED it!!

 On our way over to St. Paul, I grabbed a picture of  the Basilica of Saint Mary. Just beautiful!

 The gorgeous Cathedral of St. Paul - one our must sees on the list. 

The Altar - just beautiful. 

 Looking up at the dome

 After learning about the organ at our church, Andrew was very impressed with this sight!

 On our way back to walk around Downtown Minneapolis, I had to make sure I took this picture... That is the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River is FROZEN...something is just wrong about that.

 We learned how people survive here - the Skywalk System. I kid..but only a little.

 At the Well Fargo History Museum. A free place that is pretty nifty for kids! Alex loved the telegraph. 

 And the carriage!

 Once everyone was in town, we took the train to the Mall of America. Oh, yes. The Mall of America. 
Aren't those brothers cute?!

 The city train - Andrew and Alex called it the Polar Express! They thought it was super cool!

How about a sneak peek at the Mall of America before this post comes to an end?
Holy. Moly.


Road Trip - St. Louis to Minneapolis

Note: If you followed our travels on Instagram, these pictures are pretty much the same. But, enjoy them just the same!

Wait! Did you miss Day 1? Click here! 

Welcome back! Let's keep driving, shall we?

It is the second day of our trip. We slept pretty well, even though our hotel room looked like what I picture a frat house would be like! Andrew and Alex shared a queen bed, but somehow one had his leg over the other's chest. And the other one had an arm over the others face. It was hilarious. I wanted so bad to take a picture, but no... I really didn't want to risk waking them up. Austin did pretty well, too. He had the pack-n-play and was a sweetie. We enjoyed a yummy breakfast and headed out to get to Minneapolis.

 He's a teeny weeny super travel guy!

 Traveling through the snowy plains. 

 Finally found the Missouri state we are entering Iowa

 More snowy plains as far as the eye can see. So pretty!

 2 out of 3 are snoozing away. Andrew is working on a sticker book.

 Another nerdy stop we made...was a bust. Boo.
A couple of hours ago, we stopped to see the USS Riverside (Riverside, Iowa is the future birthplace of Capt. Jame Kirk). LOL that was sad. Even the boys were like, "whaaaaa?" It was just stuck on a trailer and parked in a parking lot. Kinda lame. There was a tourist trap "museum" or something, but we just snapped a pic and moved on. We had to make better time!

 Leaving Iowa and finding lots of wind farms!

 Pretty, but ridiculous. This huge lake is completely frozen over. Oh, it is just too much for this Southern girl. Oh my, my, my. 

We have arrived! Gorgeous view of downtown Minneapolis from our room. We even got to see the Future Mr. & Mrs. before saying goodnight! We are so excited to get this wedding started!! 


Crazy side story:

So, you know those Leapsters that they boys were playing with? Well...somehow we thought, after stopping for lunch in Iowa, we had LOST Alex's. We turned around and went back to the Quizno's looked all over the ice/snow covered parking lot... Asked the gas station and Quizno's people... Looked all over the car. Under things, behind things. EVERYWHERE. It was horrible. I prayed to St. Anthony ("Tony Tony look around...something is lost and can't be found" - he's the one you ask for help when something is lost... We Catholics do that.) the whole time and nothing... We searched all over and no where was that thing to be found. We ended up telling the boys that it was time to put the games away for a big, take a nap, do something else. Thankfully, they were somewhat ok with that idea (and I also pulled out some extra prizes) and we put Andrew's game away for the moment.

As we continued out journey to Minneapolis, I was cursing the jerk that stole it from the parking lot. I mean, come on, it wasn't anywhere in that van. Someone stole it, right? Jerk. They boys were happy playing with their sticker books and taking naps here and there. We played "I Spy" and listened to some music. Good times. But, Jason and I were planning out how in the world we were going to get back to Alabama with a broken DVD player and a lost video game. Oh, dear...I really wish St. Anthony would help us. 

We finally make it to Minneapolis and are tired and excited. I run in to get our hotel keys while Jason is with the valet getting our luggage taken care of. I come back and Jason has the biggest smile on his face. As I am just about to ask what the smile for, he holds up Alex's Leapster!!!! The darn thing had fallen somehow inside the folded up stroller. There's no way we would have found that without having to take everything out of the van. Thank, St. Anthony! And, sorry to the "person" I cursed the rest of the way to our destination. Alex was thrilled and we could all finally go to bed now that everything was ok.

Sad, crazy, but true. Ah, the life of parents. 


Road Trip - Birmingham to St. Louis

Note: If you followed our travels on Instagram, these pictures are pretty much the same. But, enjoy them just the same!

Well, well, well. The time has FINALLY come to share the pictures of our road trip from Sweet Home Alabama to the North Pole. Ok, almost the North Pole. It was actually Minneapolis. But, still. The boys did talk about the Polar Express quite a bit and we didn't even have that movie playing. So, see? They thought so, too!

But North Pole or not, it was a super fun time and we made so many wonderful memories! Here's a look back at our drive from home to St. Louis. Enjoy!!

The night before:
The minivan was packed and ready to go for our week long adventure with PLENTY of room to spare! Clothes laid out and everyone to wake up quite early in the morning.

 Ready to go at 5:30 AM!!! Already ahead of schedule! Go us!

 The boys are loving the sunrise! Every few minutes we hear, "Wow! The sky changed again! The stars disappeared!" Love it! And check it out, Venus is still in view (tiny dot on top right of pic)

 Super tiny travel guy having fun with his toys

 Goodbye Alabama! Hello Tennessee! (the welcome center for those traveling south instead of north for the winter)

 Nashville! Also, check that building out (just under the word Knoxville). Thanks to Janice, we showed the boys the "batman" building! Very cool!
 Hello Kentucky! There are so many beautiful farms in the area.

 The boys LOVED the cool bridge going over the Tennessee River. 

Hello Illinois!! One more state to go until we stop for the day.

 Now you know I had to... Or I wouldn't be the cool boy mom..
We TOTALLY stopped in Metropolis, Illinois. That's right! Home of Superman!

 Super Parents

 Boo lame. Apparently because it is too cold up here to do the construction at night...they do it during the day. Ugh. Not cool. What shall we do?

 Why, we GPS our way through the farmlands and travel down road that have no lines, of course. That's what an adventure is all about, right? So cool. 

 We made it! Hello, St. Louis!!

 Rams Stadium room view....hmmmm, how about... GO PACK GO! LOL

 This picture took some effort. I had them standing on a bench while I had my phone's camera flipped and laying on the ground to get this done. But, who cares how I did it!? This picture will be getting blown up and placed on our gallery wall in the hall very soon! These guys were completely fascinated with this amazing structure. They thought it was one of the coolest things ever. 

That's it for Day 1 of our trip! It was a fantastic time and they boys did GREAT!!! 


Our suggestions for traveling with 3 little ones under 4:

1. DVD player - that works...ours died (it was also about 8 years old) somewhere in Kentucky. But, honestly they were fine with it.
2. Leapsters (or some other video game - BUT EDUCATIONAL). That is key for us. They were learning math, science, and spelling while we traveled. We also had certain times that they could play with these games. They were not allowed to play the whole trip. We wanted them to see the sights, too. 
3. Books: When the games were not in use, we made sure to have Waldo Books, Seek and Find Books (thanks for the Batman one, Mom!) and a few others things.
4. Prizes were handed out every time we entered a new state. They loved it! Andrew would ask if we were in a new state every couple of hours, but that's it. It was great to not hear that annoying question, "Are we there yet?" Prizes included: new color wonder markers and books/paper, small toys, special treats, and glow sticks (if it was dark - Thanks for that tip, Jenna!!).



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