Spring Break 2014

This year was a Minnesota Spring break for us.  Homebound with no outrageous travel plans.  Which in all seriousness was such a welcome change.  There were lazy mornings with Things not rising until almost noon, late nights and a plethora of activities in between.  Let me share a few. 

The weekend began with a trip to MIA, or Minneapolis Institute of Art, for the girls and I.  We set pace to the photography exhibit and sat and took it all in.  Each and every photograph.  Reading about the photographer, the location, the setting.  One in particular moved me.  Mary Ellen Mark was a photographer in the late 70's and she had this way of capturing humanity.  She photographed a homeless family in their vehicle.  Front passenger door flung open, Dad holding on to Mom in the front seat, little girl cupping the face of her younger brother.  Their eyes bore through the photo.  It was mesmerizing in a dark sort of way. 
Tried to have the city skyline in the background, there it is just above Thing 1's most beautiful hair!
There was a day of shopping at MOA, Mall of America.  Thing 4 gave the ropes course a go.  He has been wanting to try his hand at this obstacle course since we've moved here.  Happy to report it was conquered with a smile on his face.  Husband Jared watched from below and was able to provide encouragement as well as a photographic evidence of the mission accomplished!
Another day we took the Things to play bocce ball indoors.  The four of them had played in Cesme, Turkey, on the sand and we knew this would be different.  For starters, the ball rolls a tad faster on turf.  Once they made the appropriate adjustments it was all in and game on!  We played teams, Husband Jared with Thing 1 and Thing 4, myself with Things 2 and 3.  Thing 3 created her own strategy, stemming from her overwhelming strength; new game plan, roll the ball at record force down the lane and knock the other team's balls out of position.  We lost.  No matter, we had great fun.  After the first match we played another and swapped Things.  Can't really say who the winner was as our time ran out and we were on to other matters.
I'm not sure if you can feel the intensity from this photograph, we are nothing if not fiercely competitive!
We had work days, complete with homework and chores and household duties.  The Things baked and had friends visit and played outside.  Movies were watched, popcorn popped and hot chocolate consumed.  Then we started a puzzle.  Nothing too gregarious, just a little Gustav Klimt scattered across the dining room table. 
The Kiss - Gustav Klimt
1000 pieces of agony.   The border was finished first.  As it should be according to puzzle doers across the world.  And then it became a bit trickier.  All patterns began looking the same, flowers blurred together and pieces disappeared from our reach.  My mind left to wander I thought we might never have dinner around our table again.  We didn't for approximately 4 nights.  Optimists that we are, we hadn't even entertained the thought of not finishing.  Sad to say, the puzzle now sits broken inside it's box, waiting for curiosity to win over and the pieces to hold the floor again. 
With winter lingering throughout our Spring break I was craving some green and hope for new life within our four walls.  The answer: succulents.  Every time I say that word Thing 2 laughs hysterically.  I don't quite understand why, but she thinks it's hilarious.  Sometimes I just walk around the house repeating "succulents" over and over.  I love her laugh.  Now we have touches of green on the mantle, in the living space and kitchen.  That makes me happy. 

Waiting to be planted.
The week came to an end and what better way to celebrate than dinner with friends.  We sat and reminisced, music being our muse and the Things and friends sat in awe of BBD, MC Hammer, C&C Music Factory and other notable dance favorites from the 90's.  What can I say, we are a generation full of mystery?  Or not.  We did eat pizza, I attempted to teach the kiddos a whip cream trick and then there was more game playing and nerf wars. 
Whip cream tragedy.  The goal is to flip the whip cream into your mouth from your wrist.  Thing 4 is the master, I had an epic fail and apparently Thing 2 did as well.  She's still cute as ever, don't you think?
Warmer weather was in the forecast and I was itching for one last spring break field trip.  Following much debate and indecisiveness we ventured to St. Paul for the afternoon to visit Landmark Center.  Landmark Center is the restored Old Federal Courts building, sitting across from Rice Park.  It was built in the late 1800's and completed in 1902, serving the state for almost 70 years before being scheduled for demolition.  Thankfully the building was saved, renovated and now serves the community.  Not only does it house multiple museums but several non profit offices as well.  The architecture is stunning and we were even able to take a ride in the original elevator which had been salvaged.  We wandered the halls, listened to Bandwidth, which is a collection of community based bands that were performing in the Center, explored the Schubert Club museum and played the instruments. 
Listening to the bands, we love music.
Giving the "gong" a try.

These fingers, playing Adele. Love.
Having roamed the halls, taken photographs, viewed the cyclone of instruments and sat in the old court rooms we set our sights outside to the river.  The Things tried to estimate how deep the water was, we watched runners and lovers walking and of course we snapped a photo of our own with the mighty Mississippi in the background.
These four have my whole heart.
With grumbly tummies I took to the internet to find us a fine eating establishment.  I had vaguely remembered reading about an old diner car in St. Paul and quickly looked it up.  Thankfully it was mere blocks from where we were.  Unsure of what to expect I would like to say the six of us were pleasantly surprised.  This diner has been operating 24-7, 365 days a year for 70 years.  It is a landmark for certain as are the malts.  Space is at a premium so it took two booths to accommodate us and as we placed our quarters in the table side juke box and I thought I heard all the Things singing along to Rockin' Robin.  Oh how my soul delights in these experiences.  They were apprehensive about the food, given our surroundings, but they put that aside and ordered their burgers and fries and then Husband Jared pulled out all the stops and granted them permission to order their very own malts. (typically they share) Oh what a day! 

Bellies full, malts in hand and four thumbs up! 
The car ride home was complete with gratitude and memories of another Spring break filled.  Filled with what you say?  Well, overflowing with good stuff. 


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