Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Minnesota & Chicago

Yesterday I posted about our time in Nebraska, the first half of our summer road trip. After we left Lincoln, we headed up north to Minneapolis. We always love Minnesota in the summer, and we wanted to see more family. I've never lived in Minnesota, but there's always a nostalgic feeling of "coming home".

The first afternoon (Monday), we visited the well-known Scandinavian shop, Ingebretsen's.

It was Swedish Mecca inside! Steve waited in the car with sleeping Ephraim, and I was in there a long time. A long time. I finally decided my souvenirs to be a Dala horse napkin holder and "Var sa god" salt and pepper shakers, which I'm super excited about.

Next, we visited my grandpa and grandma at their retirement home. The boys immediately gravitated to Grandpa's trains.

Grandpa and his Maggie dog :)

Grandma broke both legs earlier this year, but she seems to be doing well! 

Ephraim is my shy guy, so here he's checking Grandma out.

Grandpa took the boys on rides on his new scooter through the apartment and down the hall.

This was a big hit! :)

We were able to visit G&G two afternoons in a row, and it was really wonderful for all of us! 

Monday evening, we had hot dogs and hamburgers at my Aunt Karen and Uncle Roger's house. The boys had a blast playing with cousin Mackenzie, who is right in between their ages.

On Tuesday, we found where my grandma's parents are buried. Even though I never met them, I get my middle name Julia from this great-grandmother.

My cousin Lindsay had a sweet baby girl while we were in Minnesota! We were actually at their house when they brought a day-old Cozette home for the first time :)

She is beautiful!! I am so happy we were able to meet her, and spend a little time with her family.

We stayed with my cousin Jenna, and their dog Remy is the same age as Nolan. Remy was not too sure what to think of the boys!

We stopped in Chicago overnight on our way home. My Uncle Brian, Aunt Meg, and cousin Sam spoiled us with Lou Malnati's pizza and a beautiful evening in the backyard.

 Once a year is not enough!

The next morning, we took the boys on their first train ride - a quick round-trip on the L. They LOVED it!

We sat in the first car so they could see out the front window.

It was the perfect outing for two boys who are crazy about trains!

We had lunch at my favorite hot dog place, Wolfy's, a block away from where I grew up.

We didn't have much more time in Chicago before we got on the road to start the final leg back to Pennsylvania.

After spending the night in Toledo, we stopped at Lyn Marie's, my favorite coffee shop in small-town Monroeville, Ohio.

Lyn Marie's cuteness speaks for itself in these photos.

And this white chocolate raspberry mocha gave this pregnant girl enough energy to make it back home. After ten days away, we were ready to be back. But of course, now I miss everyone that we saw on our trip, and I wish we lived closer!

In other news, today is my BIRTHDAY!! Happy last day of August to all of you. :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Nebraska & Katie's Wedding

 A couple of weeks ago, we embarked on a 1,000 mile road trip to Nebraska for my cousin Katie's wedding. We had the BEST time celebrating Katie and RJ and spending time with my extended family. I lived in Lincoln for all four years of high school, so it's a joy to visit and reconnect with my friends there.

Our first stop on the way: Indiana. We had pizza burgers and orange jello with my Grandpa Dan, Gayle, Aunt Sally, and Uncle Bill. The boys were in heaven to ride in the Ninja Turtle Jeep while eating snowcones.


Stopping for lunch the next day at Culver's in Illinois.

Butterburgers and hot fudge sundaes--Mmm!

We were on I-80 driving through Iowa (only about an hour from Nebraska) when we heard our tire suddenly pop. We had driven over an S-hook that destroyed our tire. Steve changed the spare on the side of the very busy road. I made a few calls and found a tire center at a Walmart about 10 miles away. It was 6:30, and they closed at 7, so we made it just in time. I took this photo of the boys at Walmart when we saw our first sign of being close to the Cornhusker State.

Back on I-80 after losing an hour and a half, we drove into the worst thunderstorm of our lives. We were stuck in heavy rain and lightning for a couple of hours, and finally reached our destination safely. The next morning, our car wouldn't start. Go figure! :)  

We stayed with my friend Abby, her husband Kyle, and their daughter Flora. (Somehow I ended up with zero photos of them, but we had such a great time at their house!)

Friday afternoon, I went with Katie, the other bridesmaids, and the moms to get our nails done. Steve brought me lunch: Pad Thai from Noodles & Company (a particular pregnancy craving which we don't have at home). Yum!

Bright and early at 7:30 am on Saturday to get our hair and makeup done! Sidenote, Trisha just had her new baby girl Isla yesterday :)

Mother and daughter getting ready.

Trisha, Katie and I - ready to go after a full morning at the salon.

Saturday also marked the halfway point of my pregnancy - 20 weeks!!
Trisha made us the cutest bride & bridesmaid shirts!


Getting dressed at the church. Katie was stunning!!

The most beautiful bridesmaid's bouquet with coral and light pink flowers. I absolutely loved it!

The boys trying to sit still at the church ;)

 My cousin Tim escorting Aunt Tina into the sanctuary.

Watching Katie walk down the aisle. Our Uncle John performed the ceremony.

A sweet moment where Katie greeted her two boys, the ringbearers.


The reception was at a fancy lodge on a golf course, just down the road from my old high school. The coral, gold, and white colors were gorgeous!

Relient K lyrics :)

I had Steve take a couple of photos of my hair from the back. I wish it could look like this every day!

Steve did such an amazing job with the boys all day. It's not easy keeping them entertained at a wedding and reception!

Dancing with cousin Mackenzie :) 

My sweetheart.

I am so in love with this photo, and I'm glad we took it right before they got in the car to leave.

 Katie, Aunt Evie, me, and cousin Andrew on the dance floor.

Taking a dancing selfie with Andrew, Aunt Meg and Uncle Brian

One last photo of the hair and makeup (and the bump!) before I went to bed.

The next morning, we went to Uncle Paul and Aunt Tina's house for brunch.

Donovan, Ephraim, Nolan, and Liam!

 Because they had forgotten the day before, Katie and RJ needed their wedding license signed and witnessed. Katie asked me and her cousin Andrew to be the witnesses, so we were pretty jazzed to help make it official :)

After this, it was time to continue our road trip on to Minnesota!!

Thank you, Katie and RJ for letting me/us be a part of your special day! We had a blast!

 I'll post the second half of our road trip tomorrow!


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