Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Day Before The New School Year

It's easy for our family to say we've had one epic summer. We had an epic birthday month of June, we had an 18 day epic road trip visiting 6 states, and we've had some epic times in between (like State Fair weekend). I initially took the day before school off to get last minute school supplies and go to Back To School Night. However, I found out a week beforehand that BTSN was actually the afternoon before the last day of summer vacation. Sigh. So I missed it, but happily so because I still had one more day of summer to spend with my minis and I decided to make it an epic one.

Visiting the Surf Ballroom and Museum in Clear Lake, IA has been on my Iowa Road Trip List for quite some time. However, it's only open on the weekends during the summer months (and our summer was pretty busy already) so I knew it would have to be a week day when we went. I took full advantage of our day off and drove the easy 1 hour and 45 minutes to Clear Lake for a day of music history, dancing in the ballroom, and playing at the beach. Having a special Mom and Minis Day was the perfect way to end our epic summer!

Every road trip requires snacks we wouldn't normally eat. This trip's snacks included pumpkin spice everything (their choice, not necessarily mine, but I didn't complain!). When we shopped for snacks the evening before, the oldest mini said, "I love when school starts because that means it's pumpkin spice time!"

I had a bit of time in the morning to get ready and not be a hustling mess. I drank my coffee and attempted to wake up. I was fighting a particularly nasty cold and wasn't feeling the best, but we pushed forward with our day! The youngest two minis have been obsessed with baking shows this summer and wanted to bake cupcakes. At 7 a.m., before I was even out of bed, these two started the oven (with the help of big brother) and made their concoctions. Elizabeth made a strawberry chocolate donut cupcake, while Harrison made a caramel apple cupcake (complete with chopped apples in the cake batter). I didn't try them, but I'm told Elizabeth's cupcakes didn't turn out great, but Harrison's were pretty good. I told Hubs to prepare himself because they're in charge of his birthday cake this year!

Clear Lake, IA is an easy hour and forty five minutes straight north from Des Moines. It was a super easy day trip to take with the minis--no potty breaks because it was so close and easy on and off the busy interstate. Google Maps helped me with directions once in Clear Lake, but for the most part, everything was really easy to find. We first toured the Surf Ballroom (the minis even got to dance on the dance floor) and then headed to the crash site (a quick, easy drive from the Ballroom, but on a gravel road).

We couldn't pass up the gift shop. Cat eye glasses for Lil Miss E, Buddy Holly glasses for the boys, post cards, and a tee for me.

The minis favorite part of the Museum was seeing all of the signed autographs of who has played at the Surf Ballroom. Their next question was "when can we see a concert here?"

Then the minis changed into their swimming gear and we headed to City Beach for some lake time. As Elizabeth said, "well, this is a beach, but just a kind of beach. Not like a beach beach at the ocean." I cracked up at her observation. The minis spent the next couple of hours building an elaborate sand castle and I lounged on the beach in the sun. It was perfection. The minis asked if we could do a weekend getaway here next summer and stay in one of the cabins along the lake. Even though I'm not a huge lake person, it does sound appealing and relaxing.

This adventure was close enough to home that we got home in plenty of time for dinner, to get ready for the first day of school, and get to bed early. I loved this day with my minis and I'm fairly certain they did too, as they told me "this was the best Iowa day trip we've ever had!" That's a compliment because we've had some pretty awesome day trip adventures in the past! I can think of no better way to end our epic summer than with our epic day trip.