It took a good 24 hours, but I think I’m finally fully thawed – Seattle is by no means hot and toasty, but 5 degrees plus a serious wind chill?  Brrrrrrr….  Freezing temps aside, our last couple of days in Minnesota were full of more warm moments with the family, more relaxing, and plenty more eating.

Once I’d recovered from Thursday’s midnight mall madness (Shane’s mom and I are self-declared suckers for a good deal), Shane and I headed out for a drive on Friday afternoon to enjoy the snow-dusted countryside.  We have a few special spots that we visit each time we’re back – a quiet little stretch of shore at Lake Bergen, the Minnewaska lookout, the Schnell plot at Hudson Cemetery.  And there’s always a stroll down Shane’s memory lane.  We cruise past the field where the neighbor kid took him out for a joy ride in his dad’s car (and then rolled and totaled the car – bussssted!).  I know the 3-mile stretch of road that Shane once rode on his bike without once touching his handlebars.  I know where he used to catch turtles in the summers, the ditch where he would practice snowboarding in the winter.  I like reliving these memories with him, revisiting these places time and again – kind of makes me feel like I’m coming “home” as well.

We rolled out of bed late on Saturday, caught a matinee at the local theater, and then convened with the whole family back at the house for an early Christmas celebration.  There was more turkey, more ham, and a pile of gifts to be opened.

Avery is 8 years old and loves Legos and tractors more than anything in the world.  But check out the grin on this guy’s face when he opened a box full of socks!  What a sport.

For the record, he did also receive toys in abundance – much of the evening was spent assembling this Lego helicopter.

We capped off the evening with a glass of scotch (for the boys), a slice of pumpkin pie, and a rousing round of Catch Phrase, during which Shane’s dad brought me to tears (of laughter) with his impression of Tiny Tim.

We ate our traditional breakfast in Nelson on Sunday morning, and then it was time to hit the road toward Minneapolis to catch our flight.  Much thanks to Shane’s mom and dad for always making us feel so welcome – I know that each of our visits are preceded by a cleaning, cooking, and shopping frenzy.  Shane’s mom had stocked the cupboards with four kinds of homemade cookies and my favorite caramels and chocolate peanut butter balls.  How’s that for speaking my love language? Thanks again, Schnell clan.  We already miss you.


  1. la v says:

    whoa! that pic of avery looking at the camera with his legos looks a lot like shane!

  2. Nancy says:

    Looks like a great trip! Laughing so hard you cry is a good feeling. Glad you had fun!

  3. Steve says:

    I want video evidence that Shane could ride all the way down without touching the handle bars. That sounds a little far fetched to me.