Minnesota, Lady's slippers

When I was a kid, we drove across the country a few times. In the pre-iPad era, we looked out the window, sang songs, played travel bingo, and talked. Also: sister was often so engrossed in her reading that she didn't want to look out the window, and my parents bought a tiny TV that we somehow watched. I have many wonderful memories from those family adventures.

At one point, my Mom decided to use her handy AAA travel guide to teach us facts about the states through which we were driving. And for whatever reason, Minnesota's state flower really stuck in our heads. We probably said "Minnesota, Ladyslipper!" a thousand times, likely driving our parents crazy? 

Last month, we hit the road for our own family road trip. Destination: Minnesota. My above-average Minnesota knowledge is probably what led me to forge a deep friendship with a Minnesotan in college. Sixteen years later, Alli and I are still going strong and are lucky to have regularly vacationed together and visited each other, often with our families. This was, in fact, our second road trip to Minneapolis. However, the last time there was only one child involved...so, I guess it felt slightly less involved? 

The road trip itself did feel pretty long, but we enjoyed our family time together and the trip was worth every mile. It was an especially important trip this year because Alli was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She is handling it like the ultimate rock star that she is, and has always been, but it is still a lot. It has been challenging for me to be far away from a friend in a situation like this. Seeing her in person is always meaningful, but that felt especially true this time. No matter what the life circumstances, in-person interactions are so important in relationships. Nothing beats a face-to-face conversation and a hug, right?

While in Minnesota, we went up north to Alli's cabin and spent a few days enjoying fresh air and the lake. It rained a bit, but we had just as many if not more sunny hours. It was our first chance to try the SUP board Dan got me for mother's day. We had even more fun with it than we'd anticipated; it was really easy to get the hang of and the kids loved going out for paddles! 

Of course there was much more than paddle boarding. We went on boat rides, tubed, cooked delicious food, went for walks, exercised, and explored the nearby town. 

We also spent time some time in Minneapolis. I was able to go to one of Alli's treatments with her, we took the kids to the park and the pool, and we enjoyed a delicious brunch. The last time we got our families together, we had 3 kids, and this time there were 5! I think that'll be the cap on the kid front, but I cannot wait to see these "cousins" grow up together and enjoy many adventures with each other. And with their parents!