Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Our Rockin' Christmas Weekend

The day before school started, the minis and I spent a special day in Clear Lake, Iowa visiting the Surf Ballroom (read about that here). As soon as their feet hit the historic wood floors, they asked to go to a concert at the Ballroom. Of course I wasn't going to go to just any concert at The Surf. I wanted something that was 50's style, channeling Buddy Holly, and a concert that would give the minis a unique experience. I settled on a 50's style Christmas concert for an early Christmas present....and it wound up being THE BEST early Christmas present imaginable!

But before we get to our adventure in Clear Lake, we need to start with the first big adventure of the weekend: opening a new exhibit at the Des Moines Children's Museum! This exhibit has been in the works for a solid year, when we were going to build it in our old location. Of course, we experienced a lot of growth, moved into a larger location, grew and grew, and suddenly we found ourselves in the late fall discussing building an igloo from milk cartons and me, once again, making sure it was okay that we could have an ice floor (since Matt vetoed it for our own home). My programming co-chair and I have spent countless hours (her way more than me, as she was the one actually building the darn igloo--I simply assisted) in the past few weeks making it all come to life. I was sooo excited to share it with the community. We had a morning packed full of activities, fun, and a healthy of dose of chaos. As tired as we were from everything, a busy day at the Museum is just the reminder I need as to why being on the Board of Directors and head of the programming committee is my passion project.

I took a moment to give the ice floor a try before opening the doors to the public.

The minis spent their morning with Dad, shopping for Toys For Tots. They came to the Museum long enough to check things out before we grabbed sandwiches to go so we could get ready.

I had just enough time for lunch and to change clothes before we made the two hour drive north to Clear Lake. We made a pit stop for family pictures at my parent's house.

Car selfie (at a stoplight, on our way to get coffee so we could keep our energy up).

I was lucky enough to get an Irish Cream Cold Brew earlier last week because when we stopped by Bucks on our way out of town, I was told they were out. So bummed, but I settled on an almond milk caramel macchiato (double shot and iced).

I wore make up AND lipstick. Woah.

As we drove further North we noticed more and more snow on the ground  (not pictured). The drive to Clear Lake was gorgeous though. The landscape was deep brown and golden colors with the sunset hitting it just perfectly.

Our first stop in Clear Lake was The Surf District Bar and Grille for dinner. We had a wonderful and leisurely dinner before heading out for the concert. Bonus that this restaurant is in the back parking lot of The Surf Ballroom, so it was nice and close.

Our meal was so leisurely that Harrison and Elizabeth pretended to give me a manicure. With crayons.

We had a little bit of time to kill before the concert, so we drove around the town square/Lake district. I was bummed to find out we missed a Christmas celebration (we caught the tail end of the happenings as we drove through) and the cutest little Santa house (Santa was off duty). I already made mental plans for next year to spend the entire weekend up in Clear Lake so we can enjoy all of the holiday festivities! The minis really enjoyed showing Dad where we went on our special Mom and Minis Day in August.

Concert time! The minis were thrilled to see our name reserved on a booth to watch the concert. Of course, we wound up spending more time on the dance floor than at the table, but it was great to have "our spot."

The bathrooms were awesome! 

Popcorn and a peanut butter porter from Laketime Brewery.

A high school A Cappella group opened the night with the main act following directly afterwards. We listened to a band out of Minnesota called The Holy Rocka Rollaz that brought our favorite Christmas songs and music of Buddy Holly to life. It was the most perfect family friendly concert and I felt we gave the minis a pretty good look at life in a ballroom many years ago. 

I loved watching her face study the band and let out loud "WOOO HOOO" at the end of each song. It didn't take much convincing to get her out on the dance floor! She was dipped, spun, and twisted to the floor all night long! The boys took a little more convincing....we never did get Max out on the dance floor, but he was our picture taker.

I fully expected the concert to let out much later than it did. We were on the road home by 10 p.m. and in our beds just after midnight. The minis (and Hubs) fell asleep in the car as Christmas songs played and kept me awake. Since Saturday had been such a busy day for us, I had no plans to do much on Sunday. As usual that didn't go exactly as planned. We went grocery shopping, picked out a Christmas tree, and cleaned the house.

While nothing beats cutting down a tree at our favorite tree farm in Indianola, Ia, time was a factor this year, so we settled on a tree from a lot. The oldest mini went with Hubs to pick it out.

When we returned the rental car I noticed "the beast" (the Expedition we drove to New Mexico and gave it a nickname) and had to snap a picture for the minis to see. They say they really miss "our The Beast."

Christmas lights completed outside and we had furry help inside for the tree.

I'll admit, I was a bit worried about this holiday season now that the minis are older and the magic is a bit different. However, we've had a blast finding new activities to enjoy with older kids. The concert was a big highlight, but we have a lot of fun planned for the coming weekends! So stay tuned...