Part two of this “Catching Up” series takes us to the end of summer/early fall. I think Garrison Keillor once said something like, “Fall is a season of nostalgia and regret.” Really, that couldn’t be more true. I absolutely love fall: the slightly cool, but still sunny days, the changing leaves, everything pumpkin and apple and cinnamon, and soups, and looking forward to the cozy season. But, here in Minnesota, fall also brings with it a sort of regret–regret that I just didn’t spend enough time outside in the sunshine-y summer, and regret that well, after fall comes old man winter, and even though the first few snow falls are magical and fun, -30 degrees is NEVER fun, but always seems to happen anyway in January. So, before the cold truly set in, we took advantage of some of the things fall in the midwest has to offer, and it was really great.
My mom came to visit!
We just love having visitors, and that could not be more true when it comes to our parents. We were lucky enough to have a weekend with my mom in Minneapolis while she was in Minnesota for work. Although I didn’t take many photos, it was so fun. We checked out the Chipotle Cultivate festival in the park by our apartment, ate some delicious food at Bar La Grassa and P.F. Chang’s, watched and laughed with Jim Gaffigan, and just had a wonderful time together.
At Christmastime, I love when our fridge gets covered with Christmas cards. Well this summer/fall, our fridge was covered with wedding announcements and invitations. We were fortunate that so many of our friends chose to get married or celebrate their marriages here in Minnesota, and that we could be there with them! I don’t have pictures from all the celebrations, but here are a few:
The Minnesota State Fair
Minnesota has a pretty epic state fair. I mean, if giant butter sculptures, cheese curds, and a $1 all-you-can-drink milk stand don’t draw you in, I don’t know what will. Actually, if I’m being honest, my favorite thing at the fair is these $1 apple juice popsicles. I could eat those alllllll day and pass completely on the cheese curds. Fortunately for Grant (and his appetite for fried cheese curds), our dear friends James and Megan invited us to take advantage of the fair with them.
I don’t know why, but looking back on this, it feels like we should be celebrating more than one year of marriage. Perhaps it’s because I just can’t help but think that it’s really amazing, the things we have learned and done and accomplished together in just over a year. I feel so fortunate that our individual journeys led us both here and that out paths crossed in a way that allowed us to be together forever. He is just the best. We were fortunate to celebrate our momentous year together with a long weekend (yay Labor day!), and we took full advantage: going to a beautiful wedding, staying at the Hotel we stayed at after we got married (it’s amazing), doing a little outlet shopping, watching the BYU-Nebraska game (and that incredible Hail Mary to win it at the end), removing the tint from our car windows (thank you, state of Minnesota…), a Sunday drive, and spending some time with wonderful friends who have so enriched our lives.
Nauvoo, Illinois is now just a small town on the Mississippi River near the western border of Illinois, but it was once one of the largest cities in Illinois. Today it is also a historical site for our Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many of the early Latter-day Saints lived in Nauvoo before crossing the plains to eventually establish homes and cities in Utah. Their stories of faith and perseverance are really incredible. We figured this would be a really lovely late-fall trip, and we were not disappointed. Nauvoo is spectacularly perched above the river, and the little town is just so quaint and lovely. We stayed in the coolest log cabin, learned how bricks were made, watched the blacksmith do some cool stuff, attended the temple, and watched the senior missionary couples perform the most endearing little musical about the pioneers who lived there. We were even lucky enough to have our dear friends, Emily and Jesse, join us for our weekend of church-history and log cabin-staying.
Apple Orchard & the Candy store
One really shouldn’t go through fall in Minnesota without visiting an apple orchard. We had a blast with Emily and Jesse (can you tell we kind of really love them?). We may not have actually taken any apples home with us, but we got plenty of target practice in with the not-so-good-anymore apples and even organized a little game of baseball (base apple?) with a giant stick and some of the apples that were laying around. Apple orchards are just so perfectly-fall. And, if you’re really planning ahead, you’ll choose to go to the apple orchard that is only a few minutes from Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store.