Sunday, January 3, 2010

Winter Memories with Rassie

"You are my Sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away."
(My mom has referred to Parker as her sunshine ever since Daddy passed away.)

What a fun way to end 2009 and ring in the New Year...a visit from Rassie!!! My mom flew in Monday morning from MS & left yesterday morning headed back home. I can't even express in words how much fun Clay, Parker & I had with her. Is it selfish of me to always wish that our family could stay "just a few days" longer? We are always so thankful & appreciative of the time that we have with our family when they come to stay, but we do always wish for a little bit more time! :) From the moment she arrived, we stayed busy doing all the little things that we often say we would like to do "if only you were here."

Watching her play with & read to Parker, shopping, eating at fun restaurants, cooking supper for her using some of mine & Clay's favorite recipes, sledding & playing in the snow, seeing the wintry sights, watching movies, taking lots of pictures, asking her questions about a million & one things that I want to know about while I have her here, getting spoiled, sipping coffee & tea together...what else can a girl want?! I love having my mama in town!!!

Monday, after picking her up at the airport & enjoying a warm lunch at D.Brian's, Clay drove us out to the General Store of Minnetonka (which I just recently discovered) to do a little shopping & leisurely browsing. One visit to this store was all I needed to know it would be a future favorite of mine. Minnesota specialty goods, unique baby gifts, art, jewelry, seasonal & year-round decor for the home, clothing, candles, classic & timeless children's toys, gourmet candies & more, oh my!!!! Plan to stay for a few hours when you go; I promise you won't be able to leave without something in your arms!
Next, Clay drove out to a lookout point on Lake Minnetonka where we all got out in the frigid cold to stand in the middle of the frozen lake...just to say we did...and of course, to have pictures to scrapbook. ;) On our right, was an ice house. I've never been in one of those before; do they have built-in heaters? If not, I think I'll wait till summer to dust off my fishing pole. Oh wait, I left my fishing pole in MS. Well, I've got a few more months of winter before summer graces us with her presence, so there's time for that.

One of the highlights of the trip was driving through downtown Wayzata & perusing through several of the quaint shops.
If you looked across the street from the shops, this is what you saw....a gorgeous view of Wayzata Bay. The setting of the town reminded me of something I would experience only through reading books...a quaint, fashionable town that boasts simple elegance everywhere one turns.

What would a brisk afternoon outing be without something warm to drink along the way? Conveniently, a Caribou Coffee is located at the corner on that street :) ...connected to it is The Bookcase, the oldest independent bookstore in the Twin Cities that offers fun for all ages who have a love for reading. Going to bookstores like this &/or watching "You've Got Mail" always makes me want to open a Children's of my many childhood dreams. ;)

The best way to end a perfect day? Snuggled together in pjs reading bedtime stories!

On Tuesday, we took mama sledding at a nearby park. The snow was much more compact & solid than it had been a week before, but there was still plenty of it & great to slide on! She only had a little fun... ;)

Do you think my mom squealed the whole way down or just part of the way down the slope? If you guessed the latter, you are incorrect. What fun is sledding without a little bit of squealing on the way down?!

We would just be getting to the bottom when Parker would say, "I want more. I want more." In other words, "May we please go again?"

Tuesday evening, we had dinner at a friend's house. The kids played, the adults visited & played a few rounds of Rumikub. It was great.

On Wednesday, mom & I went to Edina for a few hours to have lunch at Patrick's Bakery & cafe (my favorite!!) & then to hit some of the shops around the area. I have discovered a new favorite...Oh Baby. And Oh Baby could I spend some major moohlah in that store if my budget allowed for it. I was drooling all over the place from the moment we walked in...I felt so bad about how much I "loved" everything in the store that I must have asked for God's forgiveness 4 or 5 times that day! ha! I will admit in a heartbeat...yes, I am a sinner :)

I'm going to be openly honest here. So far, I feel like I have been pretty level-headed & not gone crazy over too many baby toys/clothes, etc. the last 2 years. I'm sorry to say, however, that I am human & my emotions have failed me a few times (mostly when I visit Puddleducks in Grenada or other specialty children boutique) ...this time would be one of those. I was running around touching everything in the little girl section (which I obviously don't even have a need for!) & all the precious toys. Please tell me I am not the only mother out there that has these moments! You know...those moments where you feel as if your child will not be normal if they don't have a certain item. ;) My favorite toy find was the sweet Bla Bla dolls. I had seen them online, but not up close & personal. I could just see a little collection of these in Parker's room!!!
Sshhh, don't say anything to him, but Rassie got Parker the "Leonardo" cat as his Easter happy! I told her I was going to hide it in the storage room so that I didn't open it early for him. ;) Am I bad or what?! P.S. The dolls are just as soft as they are cute!
It really was fun for "us girls" to get out & have a relaxed afternoon together zipping in & out of whatever stores we felt inclined to go in!!! Fun times...
Thursday (New Years Eve), was mine & Clay's 4 year anniversary. This was the first time since we've been married that Clay was able to hold the night off from work. Rassie let us celebrate while she & Parker & played at home! (I actually took almost an hour to get ready...not including a shower!...which is practically unheard of for me! What a treat! Thank you, Mom!)

Clay treated me to one of the most amazing dinners I've ever had. It was at Murray's in downtown Minneapolis.

I think we enjoyed the drive into downtown almost as much as the dinner itself. Simple adult conversation can put a glorious smile on your face!

We shared a juicy Silver Butter Knife Steak for two. (I'm at a loss for words right now..I can't even tell you how good it was.) Complimenting the dim candlelit seating at each table, were chandeliers adorned with garland & lights. Mirrors lined most of the walls. It was a tastefully small and elegant dining atmosphere.
Clay surprised me with an "anniversary" ring. I couldn't believe it when he placed the box on the is gorgeous. Thank you Clay. Not fair though...we weren't supposed to do gifts. I handed him a card. ;) Thank you babe for loving me the way you do! I love you & LOVED our date night together with just the two of us!

Back at the apartment...Rassie & Parker were having fun doing silly things!

After our extravagent dining experience downtown, we drove just down the road from home to Burnsville for a casual movie at Cinemagic. We stopped by the house to change from our suits & jewels to our blue jeans & sweaters! "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" was our choice for the evening. It was good...will we ever own it? No.

Clay & I couldn't help but laugh because my sweet hubby treated us to popcorn, candy & drinks (the manager's special..which is the giant kind), even though we were both completely stuffed from our steak dinner. It was kinda hard to fathom going from what we had just eaten to movie popcorn & candy out of a box. :) When I asked him if he thought we were going to eat all of that, he just smiled & said, "No, but we might as well enjoy the whole movie experience since we can!!!" (We both laughed at that because if you know us, you know that we do not splurge on things like that to then say "we know we can't eat it, but were doing it for the whole experience thing.") He then went on to say that since he had missed 3 years of anniversaries (sort of) that he was making up for it! Needless to say, we could not (& didn't even attempt to) finish our snacks, but we had a wonderful time joking, watching the movie & chatting!!!
It was 11:51pm when we walked into our apt...4 degrees outside & only getting colder. We did ring in the New Year with Rassie then went straight to bed.

Friday, New Years Day, we took off for the Mall of America. (The temps were -15...I'm not talking wind chill here people! When Clay looked up the weather on his i-phone that evening it said... "temp: -15 feels like: -26" Aaaggghh! That is cold!)
Yes, it was packed. Yes, we had a hard time getting out of the parking lot to go home. Yes, the stores had great sales. And yes, we had a great time!

Parker celebrated an early birthday with Rassie that evening; she let him go ahead & open his gifts. I think he was most excited about his Viewfinder. Do you see in the picture below him sticking out his hand to try & touch something? That's what he was doing for the first 5 minutes while looking through this thing! ha ha! Now, he's a pro at switching the slides & enjoying the show without the hand movements!!!

We had a fabulous week together & were so glad Rassie took the time to come up & see us during the holidays!
We miss you already Rassie! Love you! Thank you for spoiling us with your love!!! And thank you for being our special sunshine this past week!!!
There's a special kind of closeness
that only families know,
that begins with childhood trust
and deepens as you grow.
There's a special kind of happiness
in sharing little things,
the laughter, smiles, and quiet talks
that daily living brings.
There's a special kind of comfort
in knowing your family's there,
to back you up, to cheer you up
to understand and care.
Of all the treasures life may bring,
your family means the most.
And whether near or far apart,
that love will hold you close.
Author Unknown


valerie said...

Carrie Elise Jones Nolen ... WAKE up... SMELL the coffee, AND DRINK IT!!!!!! You MUST take another "baby step" and CONSIDER taking your talents and gifts shared here to a higher level!!!!!! You are a WRITER ... accept that and GO WITH IT!!!! Please visit a website called "Like the Dew". It is a "southern journaling website" developed by some friends of a friend of mine who used to work for the Atlanta Journal Constitution Newspaper. I think readers would LOVE to read your entries. I truly believe that your talent is worthy of publication!!!! Your amazing photographic skills are an added plus! Not kidding, kid! Your posts are never disappointing, and I think you could actually profit from this God given gift. I'm not being prejudiced - honestly!! But I do love you and am so proud of you! Nanny and PawPaw are looking down and BEAMING!! And BTW - I'm so glad y'all had a such a wonderful time together!!! Wonderful memories for Parker!

Marsha Goodwin said...

Hey..I saw on Facebook that you had a blog site...I loved reading about your mom's visit and seeing all the pictures..Looks like a great time had by all..I know she loved being with you all..Parker is adorable, and I am so glad I can keep up with you all now and see pictures of your life in MN...Love you

carrie said...

Aunt Val, you are too sweet. I will check the website out; I appreciate the compliments. So glad you found the site, Aunt Mar; thank you for checking it out! I LOVE sharing our everyday moments with friends & family!