|The St. Croix River|
It began last Saturday, May 31, 2014, with a 7+ hour drive to my folks' place in Minnesota. They live in a small town about an hour north of the Twin Cities, and their house is miles from anywhere and surrounded by vengeful swarms of large Minnesota mosquitos!
Seriously. Monstrous mosquitos. These insanely large blood suckers swarmed around our minivan the second we pulled into the driveway, bumping into the windshield and hovering near exits so that we had to make a mad dash for the front door as soon as the van doors were flung open. It was like something from one of those corny horror flicks I saw as a kid. Run, or the mosquitos will drag you into the woods! Of course we knew in advance about the mosquitos. But wow! All that rain they've been getting in that part of the world has sure helped the mosquitos thrive!
You may be happy to know that I received only about 8 or 10 bites. That's without using bug spray AND without keeping myself locked up indoors. What can I say? They just don't like me that much.
The mosquitos were almost tame compared to the swarm of people that joined us for dinner on Wednesday night. Three of my siblings came (there are seven of us in all), and between us we had 18 CHILDREN in attendance. Add a couple of cousins (one with a baby in tow) an aunt, all our spouses, and a sprinkling of family drama, and you have one crazy party! It was madness, but it was fun, and I was so happy to see all of the beautiful people--especially tiny people--who were able to come.
And then there were the road trips. We drove down to the cities to visit the Mall of America (really just Lego Land) and Ikea. Another day we went north to do a little rock picking on the shores of Lake Superior, and another day we headed out to Taylor's Falls to hike around Interstate State Park and check out the glacial pot hole, watch rushing waters of the engorged St. Croix River, and enjoy a frosted mug of root beer at The Drive Thru!
It was a beautiful trip. But I am glad to be home where I can sleep on my own comfy bed, where chaotic family parties are a blissful memory, and where the mosquitos are a more manageable size and quantity!