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It wasn't like we were just sitting around eating cake ....

If you’ve never been to Minnesota in the summer, you really should try to go.

Winter … well, it’s freezing.

Beautiful, but freezing. You really just want to stay inside.  Kind of like Houston in August.

And while we were in Minnesota we tried to make the most of getting to be outdoors.  Bill went up with the kids two days before Caroline and I left (thankyouverymuch UIL sports rules that have the high school volleyball season start August 1).

Before we got there, Bill took the kids on walks through the woods behind his parents house.  They take butterfly nets and try to catch … well butterflies I guess.  I don’t think they have ever actually caught anything though.

What they did catch was a tree frog.  By the time I arrived it had become a part of the family.  Tragically the tree frog escaped.  Secretly I was glad though because tree frogs need trees, not just sticks stuck in a jar.  Or at least I think so.

(I did make the mistake of telling the kids I preferred pets with fur … and now they are heavy into negotiations on getting a hamster.  That is really nothing more than a mouse with fur so I’m thinking I could have gotten off easier with the tree frog.  Live and learn.  Live and learn.)

You really never want to go inside so we played croquet:

We played backyard baseball:

And ladder ball (where I may or may not have gotten a li-eet-tle bit competitive):

We shot bow and arrows (it’s a new fave thing for me!):

There was swimming at the cousins’ pool:

Sitting in the grandparents gazebo (where many a game of Yahtzee has been played):

And there was even some sleeping under the stars.  (That is until Bill thought it was raining and moved them into the gazebo - only to find out, come morning, that it was just moisture from the air which got on the moon roof of the tent - which he had left open to see the moon - dripping down on his face.  You have to understand - the man is a city boy.)  I laughed my head off.

The kids had to bundle up for their night in nature:

We had to borrow warm stuff for the most part because when you are packing a suitcase in August in Houston, you really can’t imagine anywhere in America where it would be comfortable to wear a sweatshirt.  ANYWHERE.

We even had a fire:

SO fun.

Bill did make it to a Minnesota Twins game one night with his brother:

And I did make it to the Mall of America … it is, after all, the largest mall in the United States.  We spent so much time enjoying the outdoors that we literally only had one hour to cover the mall.

The ENTIRE mall.

We split up and Bill and his parents took the younger two so they could ride a roller coaster:

And Caroline, Brittany and I made a lap around one floor of the mall.  We bought a thing or three and made it back to our meeting point right on time.  Impressive if I do say so myself.

We had a good time!  I’m not sure if it was the thought of going to a mall with his sisters or riding a roller coaster that left Jacob feeling sick.

We packed a lot of fun into a few days.

I guess you could say we had our cake and ate it too!