Saturday, August 1, 2015

Laurapalooza! Day 1.

Helen and I recently flew to Minneapolis, picked up my best friend from elementary school and her two daughters, and then drove to Brookings, South Dakota where we attended a conference on Laura Ingalls Wilder. And as ridiculous as that all sounds, I promise I am not making it up.

I have never traveled with Helen alone for an extended period. This trip was a real treat. That Helen made fast friends with my friend's daughters was icing on the cake. I'd rate this trip as being as good as it could've been - and I'm hopeful this will be the start of some mother-daughter travel for Helen and me.

Our adventure started with an early morning drive up to Baltimore, because I decided the convenience of a direct flight was better than the convenience of driving to Dulles or National. Upon landing in Minneapolis, we headed to The Works. It's super cool, we should have one in DC.

A huge bonus of going to a children's museum in the middle of the week is that it is virtually empty. And we took advantage of that by testing every exhibit in the place, with only a brief break to eat what would be the first of roughly 20 pizzas on our trip. (My deal with myself was that I was going to try and make the trip as easy on Helen as possible, and if that meant cow-towing to her daily request for cheese pizza, I was going to smile and love it.)

Helen was a little horrified that I took her photo in these clothes. They are her traveling clothes, selected only for comfort, not fashion. She did admit they were good on the plane, but they are not even close to enough style for her.

We rocked it so hard building a marble run, that at one point, a bunch of kids were trying their best to take the project over from Helen. But she was determined to make it work, and she succeeded! 

And then Helen made a balloon car, and she brought home a kit for Connor because she would really like to show him how awesome it is.

After spending several hours here, we headed off to Lisa's house - but not without texting my mom a photo for my dad, the family engineer.

It was good to move around a lot, because the next phase of our trip was driving. We were able to remind ourselves that I am a terrible navigator, which resulted in Lisa driving down a few roads in the wrong direction. Luckily, she either remembers that I'm a disaster with a map or doesn't care.

We did make it to our destination and were able to check into our "suite". It was there we encountered the first problem - the couch that was supposed to be in our room with two beds was an imaginary couch. Helen sized up the situation quickly and begged for all three girls to sleep in the same bed, even volunteering to be the middle kid. (She wasn't being nice here - she remembers getting kicked out of bed the last time she shared with a friend, and she wanted to make sure she didn't suffer a similar indignity on this trip.) The kids were thrilled, so as Lisa noted, the problem was solved before anyone even realized it was a problem. Yay!


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