Last week, Sam was feeling a little overwhelmed - she was cooped up with her little sister and was feeling a little down. I suggested we go out for a bike ride - just the two of us. We biked to the east side of the lake and sat down and relaxed. Thinking about my own frazzled work schedule, I said - "How about I take off a day in the middle of the week - we can put Stella in daycare and just have a Mommy/Sammy Day?" Sammy's head whipped around and she grinned.
"What'll we do?" She asked "What do you want to do?" I replied. Sammy wanted to go to the beach of our nearby lake where there are no lifeguards. This way, she can use the little inflatable raft we got last summer, a no-no at guarded beaches. That's it - that's all she would be content with doing.
I had other plans.
We dropped Stella off at daycare at her usual time - then Sammy and I went off for a morning of geocaching. I had researched a loop of about 6 caches within about 3 miles. So, we were off. The first cache was in a nature preserve of a big Minnesota company that generally mills things. I had to dive into a overgrown weedy area in order to find the cache. Sammy didn't come off the trail; she was too concerned about the teeny thumbnail sized toads we saw on the blacktop path. She coaxed them into the grass so bikers or unattentive walkers wouldn't smoosh them. We did another cache that Sammy really enjoyed. Instead of using the GPS unit, it's a Pict-O-Cache - a series of extreme close up pictures of landmarks in this park. You go from place to place and then at the final stop, find the hidden treasure. Terribly fun. The other caches were more traditional - We did one that we had to take our picture by, which I may post here, depending on how many chins I have, a common problem when you take your own picture.
We went to lunch at Panchero's which Sammy though was tasty, hit Target and bought matching skirts ($12.99!) - she's able to fit into the ladyclothes section now - and swim noodles and little mesh things to make them into floaty chairs and then headed home.
On the way home, I asked if she'd like to have her friend B join us. She made the call and B came along to the park. The girls had such a blast being kids at the park - splashing, gawking at fish, etc. I got to chill out and relax on the sand.
So I'm thinking - hey, the Music in Plymouth thing is tonight. It's a big deal with lots of different music and the toppers are the Minnesota Orchestra and fireworks. I call Mom and see if she wants to go. She's in. We invite B along as well.
We go to pick up Stella, who I told there's someone special in the car (she likes Sammy's friends). She guesses - Grandma? no.... PopPop? Nooo... It's a surprise, I tell her. We get to the car, and she sees Sammy in the front seat and with much disdain dismissively exclaims, "No, not Sammy!" But then she sees B and is all smiles.
Later on, we head to the concert, Mom, me B and Sammy (we discussed bringing Stella, but thought it would be a long, loud time, things Stella doesn't do well with) - along with bug spray and camp chairs. It's packed. We can't hear the orchestra very well, which is odd as the previous act (Mick Sterling) was LOUD! Must have been some audio issues. The girls have run off trying to find a friend of theirs. I look at Mom, consider we aren't able to enjoy the music, probably won't see fireworks under the canopy of trees, and ponder the mass exodus that will occur after the fireworks end and say, "Boy, this bites - let's get the hell out of here." Mom agrees and we decide to walk through a path on our way back to the car. I think, hell we can watch the fireworks from the parking lot, jump in the car afterward and burn out before the thronging hordes.
So we begin the walk back through a woodchipped path and get to the Millenium Garden, the girls get all kiddish and run and chase each other. Mom and I plop ourselves down on an uncrowded expanse of land and think. WTF, let's park here for the fireworks. Meanwhile the girls run and play through the twilight.
The fireworks are slated to begin at 10 pm. 10:00 comes and goes. We hear crackling here and there and think "are we missing them?"
At 10:15, a burst of red squiggles explodes. And this went on and on - just a gorgeous display. We were so close the the fireworks, it felt like they were going to touch us. A huge, larger than life display. Mom said that she hadn't every been that close to ground zero, pardon the expression, when seeing fireworks before. We were amazed at the display - we loved the Happy Face one and one that had a heart in the center. Like, I said, it kept going and going - you'd think it was the finale and there'd be a bigger set. So, so cool. I hugged Sammy to me and asked how her Mommy/Sammy day. She said it was a perfect ending to a perfect day.
A extra bonus - we got to the car, after a 15 minute walk, and was able to pull out of the parking lot and slide into NO traffic. So cool.
We were so pooped when we got home.