Monday, June 15, 2015

Eight Year Anniversary Weekend Get-Away

Tomorrow, Paul and I celebrate 8 years since the big "I do"!  We had a lot of time to talk this weekend on our getaway, and we both agreed that it while it does feel like a long time that we have been married (so much has happened with moving, work, advanced schooling, and the addition of 3 kids), but we both think our relationship has gotten SO much BETTER!  We understand each other more, we love each other more, we communicate better, we appreciate each others' strengths more, we know more how to show love to each other, and we work so well as a team.  I am so thankful God gave me Paul as a teammate!

When people said that life got busy when you have kids, I didn't understand what they meant.  I thought it would be pretty easy to stay connected.  But this year especially we have been learning that to keep a marriage strong with church and work commitments and three little kids 4 and under takes being intentional as well as saying no to other good opportunities that come up in order to ensure time together.  It is so worth it!  This past weekend was the perfect chance to be intentional about spending time together, connecting, and enjoying a totally stress-free weekend to just have fun together!

My parents offered (i.e. begged ;) ) to take our 3 kiddos for the weekend which was an indescribable blessing (more on their weekend in the next blog post).  It was our first overnight getaway in two years, and it felt amazing to get away from the normal schedules and routine that so dictate the life of a family with young kids.  It was awesome to be able to be spontaneous about activities and sleep/eating schedules.  We enjoyed staying out til midnight, sleeping in, eating dessert for lunch, continuing activities as long as we wanted, and eating dinner past 8pm.  We could decide to do something and be ready to go in 2 minutes (vs. 30 minutes to pack everything kids would need) and could actually stay someplace for longer than a couple hours (before someone would need a nap or a meal).   And sitting down through an entire meal actually talking to each other without interruptions?  AH-Mazing ;).

We didn't take many pictures - we were just too busy having fun - but I will share a few.  Our weekend started off with shopping the huge outlet mall in Eagan.  It opened a year ago, and even though it is only 20 minutes away, I hadn't gotten a chance to get over there yet.  We spent a LONG time shopping and each got quite a few new things.  Very fun!  We had a late dinner at, El Parian, a Mexican place in Eagan, and then packed up and started driving to Red Wing, MN - about an hour drive.  It was the first time either of us had been there.  We stayed at a beautiful and historic building called the St. James Hotel. Every room had amazing antique furniture and history covering the walls and rooms.  Here are a few pictures I snagged from the this website.

We ate out on this patio for brunch on Sunday

This shows the hotel and its location relative to the river
This shows some of the architecture and also is the entrance to the hotel restaurant where we ate our anniversary dinner Saturday night
This shows the decor typical of each room.  Each room and floor is unique. Each room is named after a ship or boat on the Mississippi.

It is fun that this site actually lists all the rooms with a picture, so I snagged a picture of the two rooms we stayed in.  We stayed in the Taber the first night and upgraded to a whirlpool suite for the second night. 

We spent much of Friday evening walking around the hotel - it was quite the museum!  We also spent a while walking along the Mississippi river, as the hotel is only a block from the river.

 On Saturday we enjoyed relaxing, eating a late breakfast/early lunch at the hotel, and exploring Red Wing.  We especially enjoyed the Uffda Shop, which is all Scandinavian items (Paul is roughly 25% Norwegian and 25% Swedish) and reading and learning about different traditions, etc.

We toured the Red Wing Shoe Factory and it was fascinating learning how they make these legendary boots worn everywhere people "work and play hard".  This company has truly kept the historic city of Red Wing on the map.  Probably the coolest part was seeing the World's Largest Boot, which was actually made just like the little ones are.  The big shoelaces were my favorite part as the look just like the little ones but were huge!!  This boot is size 638.5 ... a little bigger than Paul wears...

We also looked around inside the beautiful historic Sheldon Theatre (click here for a video tour), however we didn't get to see the stage as there was a dance recital going on.  There are so many cute bakeries and coffee shops downtown Red Wing.  We stopped at the Hanisch Bakery for a midday snack.  Mmmmm!

I chose a banana nut muffin and red velvet cake pop.

Paul chose a personal size marble cake, ice cream, and coffee.
Then we headed out to hike!  Probably about 2 miles from our hotel was the entrance to Barn Bluff, one of Red Wings most notable hiking paths because of its great views of the city and river.  We walked to the entrance, enjoying exploring the local neighborhoods along the way.

Entrance to the hike

We first hiked to the top of the west side of the bluff overlooking the river

Then we hiked across the top of the bluff and saw the view from the opposite side.

Paul's panorama from the east side
We hiked down and walked back to the hotel and enjoyed relaxing in our whirlpool tub.  Then we cleaned up for our anniversary dinner at the Port, the elegant restaurant at our hotel. 

We felt our best wearing what our spouse helped us pick out the day before on our shopping trip at the outlet mall ;) 
Bison New York Strip

Delicious Halibut
On Sunday we stuffed ourselves at the most delicious brunch buffet with make-your-own omelets, the best cinnamon sugar french toast sticks, and yummy desserts.  I loved eating outside on the cute patio!

Then we headed off for a 40+ mile bike ride.   Red Wing has the start of the Cannon Falls Trail, a 20 mile paved bike path through gorgeous scenery, to Cannon Falls.

We rented bikes at the hotel lobby

Here we are at the end of the trail in Cannon Falls.  (Paul looks white because of all the sunscreen we put on to keep from burning!)
We had a blast walking along the rocks in and around the falls!  The cold water felt great as it was pretty warm out.  We also got cold drinks at the local grocery store.  We had a slight mishap when I changed gears on a hill when we had just started our 20 miles back to Red Wing and my chain came off my bike! Thankfully my awesome hubby is a jack-of-all-trades and had me back and riding in no time!  I loved the talk time we had as we rode along with the amazing scenery!  We returned our bikes at the hotel and started our hour drive back to Apple Valley.  We finished our date with the best burgers, shakes and fries at Five Guys Burgers.  We definitely enjoyed our food on this trip!  (And also not cooking or doing dishes!)

I am so grateful for the time we spent together.  It was perfect in every way.  Literally PERFECT.  So grateful.


The Baum Family said...

Sounds like a wonderful getaway! You guys are so cute. ❤️

Laura said...

Love all the food posts and the bike ride sounds so cool! I definitely want to do that trail someday!

Jill said...

Looks like you had such an amazing time with varied activities and incredible food!! So glad you had such a great time away together.

Kristin Bjorklund said...

Yay yay yay! Looks perfect! I like that you match. I'll just call you Jim and Jill. ;)

Tell Paul I like his colored shorts!

The O'Connor Family said...

Looks like a blast, Kel! Glad you two got some special time away!

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