Awake early on a Sunday morning. Knowing all the kids are sleeping in their beds upstairs. This is the best feeling. In just a few days, most of them will be living in different states. But for now, they’re here with me. I love this feeling.
We all went to the state fair yesterday, Mark and me, the kids and all of the significant others. We piled into two vehicles and headed for St. Paul. Last year we discovered the key to stress free parking. Several area businesses offer free parking and a shuttle bus straight to the state fair entrance gates. This beats paying… what? Ten or twelve dollars for parking and walking blocks just to get in!
There were so many people there! The weather was beautiful so the crowds were probably even bigger than usual. We arrived just after 9:00 a.m., so we probably didn’t see the worst of it.
We marveled at the thrill rides.
We saw farm animals.
We toured the Department of Natural Resources building, which is a must-see for the boys because of all the wildlife and fish and things within. I find it less exciting than they do, but entertained myself by posing the kids with a cardboard cutout of a geologist.
We checked out the world’s biggest karaoke…
And maybe even joined in the singing…
Connor was such a good sport and went right along with it when Mark dragged him up to a mic. I think he might have even enjoyed it a little more than he was willing to admit!
And we ate! We ate alligator sausage and cheese curds. We ate french fries smothered in cheese sauce, ranch dressing and chives. We ate Pronto Pups. We ate wild rice corn dogs. We ate deep-fried pickles! We ate Sweet Martha’s chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven.
By early afternoon, we were stuffed and the crowds were getting difficult to deal with, so we called it a day. Back at home, everyone fell asleep in various places around the house and no one was really hungry by dinner time.
It was a relaxing and mellow evening. Brad noticed some freshly picked zucchini on the table – giant-sized, of course, because I let it grow too long again – and suggested we make zucchini bread. He and Heather and I made a quick run to Target for a few needed ingredients and picked up some movies while we were there. We spent the evening watching movies while shredding zucchini, mixing ingredients and baking batch after batch of bread. Heather thought chocolate chips would be good in the bread. She dug around in a cupboard and found the chips and mixed them in. Soon the house smelled warm and cinnamon-y.
The kids settled in front of the movie while the bread was baking. Dacotah-dog wandered the house, checking out smells and seeking attention wherever she could get it. I washed up bowls and spoons, spatulas and mixer attachments. I loved the sound of the conversation drifting into the kitchen from the living room. I loved the sound of the kids’ teasing and laughter. I never realize how much I miss the sounds… the noise … of my family until it’s too quiet.
All that walking at the fair and the long day had taken it out of us. We were all falling asleep just after 10:00 and called it a night.
In just a few days, most of my kids will be sleeping under different roofs. College and life will take them away from me for a while. And I’ll look back on this wonderful weekend of togetherness and smile. And I’ll think how I can’t wait for the next time the house will be full and messy and noisy again.