Hashtag: Madison in Minnesota

As you probably assumed from the title this post is all about Thing 2's dear friend from Tennessee, Madison.  These girls met in our neighborhood almost nine years ago and have been friends ever since.  We lived across the street from their family and the memories that have been made are abundant.  There are countless pictures and videos made by the both of them documenting their rock collecting, mud adventures and explorations in the forest behind our houses.  Then they moved away.  Then we moved to another country.  Then we moved back to the states.  Then they moved to the PNW.  Now they are back in TN and it was high time for Madison to visit the great white North, or frozen tundra as I affectionately refer to it.  Regardless, Madison came to MN, navigated the airport on her own and arrived while Thing 2 was still at JAM camp.  I was thankful for some catch up time with her to hear all the latest and greatest with her fam, what's going on with her, how the move back has been, what she thinks about being a junior in high school now, almost having her license, etcetera, etcetera.  We did just that and then Thing 2 came home and we were both happy to have her back.  

First things first, the girls updated our summer bucket list with their summer bucket list.  Beginning with MOA.  Sadly, or maybe not, I have no photos from the epic shopping trip they had.  Things 1 and 2 felt it their duty to showcase the MOA for Madison and that they did, as evidenced by the number of bags she returned home with.  The MN weather was showing off for her and after an exhausting day shopping we shared dinner with friends and sat outside listening to music and roasting marshmallows.  It was a good summer night.  

Every picture is something else with these two lovelies!

Marshmallow roasting 101.

S'mores face.

Two smiles and one chocolate smile!

For our next MN highlight we had a family field trip to the food truck festival in Uptown.  An artsy area to take in, the best people watching and an opportunity to sample new foods, yes please! Everyone tried something different, we all shared tastes with each other and then it became too much and the ice cream lines were too long so we hit the road for a frozen treat and an afternoon nap.  It's one of our love languages around here.  Or maybe that's food.  I digress.  Anyhow, our plan for the evening was to go to church together but no sooner had we beautified ourselves than a summer storm came loud and strong.  Gusty winds and sideways rain kept us home watching a sermon on-line and talking about all the food we had sampled.  Still another good day. 

Three Things and Madison!

Food truck fest, stop 1!  Shrimp po boy, I think.

Yogurt-Lab, you know the science yogurt place.  Yes, we know, thanks for that Thing 2!

The weekend was over but the sight seeing had just begun.  Monday came with a full agenda.  First stop, breakfast at Black Coffee and Waffle Bar.  Second stop, The Sculpture Garden, third stop, well we attempted to go the Walker but to our surprise it is closed Mondays.  Oh well.  Next up, the Guthrie Theatre and Mill City Ruins, last but not least a new do for Madison and finally home.  I was grateful to be their chauffeur for the day and a participant in all the silliness!

Breakfast please, the most important meal of the day.

Standard waffle picture.

Sculpture Garden shenanigans.

Life imitating art...Madisoninminnesota style!

Artsy at the Guthrie.

Silly at the Guthrie.

Up next, a day in Excelsior.  We walked Water St., showed off Lake Minnetonka, ate fish tacos at Lago Tacos and had ice-cream at Licks.  Have I mentioned we especially like taking our guests on food tours when they visit?  We're not foodies by any classification but we do like good food and we do like sharing it with the people we love.  We like sharing with it with people we like.  Hey, we like sharing it with people we don't even know.  So there it is, the day in a nutshell. 

On the dock, Lake Minnetonka photo bombing!

I was channeling my inner karate kid, or maybe practicing my tree pose, balancing my purse and all! 

Ice cream please!

I had plans the next morning so the girls slept in and were having a slow morning when spontaneity got the best of them.  They decided to strap on their running shoes and meet me for breakfast at our favorite coffee house, 2.6 miles away.  I was at said coffee house meeting a friend for a blogapalooza, yes we coined the word and I will be using it as often as possible from here on out until it becomes a part of everyday vernacular.  So the girls ran, or ran and walked rather, and arrived to share breakfast with me.  Then they met Thing 2's mentor and Madison was given a tour of our church which I am sure was complete with story upon story.  From there they went to the fields to play footie with friends.  Thing 4 met them there and there they stayed for a few hours until it was time for more footie with Thing 4.  He had a match and the girls were coming along to support him.  Although their idea of support was collapsing on the blanket before the match even started because they were spent after their day full of physical activity.  It was comical! Another better than good day in the books.

Thing 4's supporters.  You will be my squishy?!

Tired girlies.  It really is exhausting being a tourist.  

We spent our last day in MN paddle boarding and preparing for the upcoming road trip to TN.  A fourteen hour drive, just me, Things 2 and 4 and Madison.  Paddle boarding was not a first for Madison, her and Thing 2 have some fond memories of attempting to paddle board at the beach where I think there was more tipping over and swimming than actual time on the board.  This day was different.  The water was calm and once we all got our balance we tried paddling on our knees, our bellies and then of course the usual ensued and one Thing was going after the other, kids were falling off their boards and I was threatening them all to stay away from me!  I wanted no part of their "games".  I still managed to end up in the water.  Go figure.  G-times people.  Thing 2 taught me that, I only hope I used the term correctly so as not to embarrass her...NOT!  

Ready to paddle board!  Gosh, I love those smiles.

There was one last family dinner and prayer session around the table for everyones' upcoming travels, us to TN and Thing 1 and Husband Jared's trip to Israel, and early bed for all of us because as we all know the alarm always rings too early the next morning.

Coffee in hand, travel CD's blaring and nothing but open road ahead.  That is how our trip began.  Oh and three sleepy-eyed passengers all trying to get comfortable in the back.  The drive was uneventful with the exception of two dead birds thanks to Sven the Volvo machine!  We made our usual stops for gas, oil checks, coffee and ooey-gooey butter bars.  Before we knew it we were in TN at Pappo and Grammy's having a night swim with the cousins and more than ready for some 4th of July fun!

My road trip warriors.  

Our first day in TN and our last full day with Madison began with breakfast at Monell's; Southern style, gathered around the table with strangers, heaping portions of fried chicken, biscuits, corn casserole, pancakes, all the breakfast meats passed around and bottomless glasses of sweet tea being poured.  We rolled ourselves back to Pappo and Grammy's where we swam, picked fresh fruit and veg from the garden, played volleyball, had diving contests and indulged in a rib cook off.  The night ended with a stellar fireworks show, despite the rainy weather, conducted by none other than Uncle Jeff and Thing 4.  We stayed up too late talking and singing in the outhouse because we knew the next day meant see you laters were inevitable.  

Ready for the 4th, matching headbands, tank tops and red lipstick!

Me and the girlies.  I didn't get the memo on the red lipstick.  

Fun with sparklers.  Photo creds to Thing 2.

Watching the fireworks, so happy together.  

There was one last family breakfast before we met the Durbins for the Madison drop-off.  Although that took a few hours since we decided to chat in the parking lot catching up on all manner of topics.  Man do we love that family!  Thanks for sharing your girl with us Durbins and thanks Madison for giving us the opportunity to use our newest hashtag creation: "madisoninminnesota".  It was real.  Real fun!  

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