Minnesota – Days 3-7: Adventures in Love – Our First Date and Family Bonding

The morning of my birthday Alex and I both woke up a little after 1 a.m.. Neither of us could get back to sleep so we stayed up talking until 5 a.m.. We woke up again around 11 a.m. for a bit and then fell back asleep again until 4 p.m.! Totally crazy and random. When we finally got up for the day we made breakfast that was actually more like dinner since it was nearly five in the evening. We relaxed and hung out and made cookies and went back to bed by like 10 or 11. It was a glorious birthday. I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend it than by sleeping all day and then getting to relax and hang out with the man I love. Glorious.

Oh, and Alex totally killed it with my birthday presents. The first part I mentioned in the last post, the matching bracelets he made for us. He also got me another bracelet, this one Harry Potter themed that has a snitch, two owls, and the deathly hallows symbol. In fact, at some point I almost bought that bracelet for myself, but for whatever reason decided not to. In addition to the bracelets he also got me a time turner necklace. A Harry Potter themed birthday. What a winner!

Time turner necklace (left) and Deathly Hallows bracelet (right) birthday gifts from Alex!

Time turner necklace (left) and Deathly Hallows bracelet (right) birthday gifts from Alex!

The day after my birthday I had a dentist appointment. Lame, I know, but I learned last year that regular oral checkups are important. When I went last year I hadn’t been to the dentist in like eight years and had eight cavities and I needed a root canal… So, yeah, I’m trying to be more proactive now. I brought Alex with me to the dentist because I wanted to spend as much time with him as humanly possible while I had the chance. Gross, I know, but whatever.

After the dentist we were both tired so we went back to the apartment and took a nap. Then we went over to my Aunt Kim and Uncle Mike’s house to have dinner. Kim made a yummy pasta and since her son Nolan and I share a birthday we got leftover ice cream cake for dessert. Score! We hung out and chatted with Kim and Mike for a bit and eventually Peyton and Nolan came to join us. At some point we somehow got to talking about vomiting, which one wouldn’t usually talk about after dinner, but it was hilarious and we all had really great stories so that was fun. Alex and I went home that night and watched a couple episodes of How I Met Your Mother before calling it a night.

Friday we decided to go on our first official date. Now, we’d been on numerous outings, where Alex paid, but technically he hadn’t asked me on an actual date yet. Since we were getting ready in the same apartment neither of us want the other one to see us before we were fully ready. Alex showered and used the bathroom first and then once he was done in there I locked myself in. A few times I had to leave the bathroom to go get something I’d forgotten and I made Alex close his eyes while I darted around the apartment half ready. It was a-dork-able.

I curled my hair and even put makeup on which, if you know me, is a rarity. I wore a dress and nylons and flats. Alex wore nice shoes, dress pants, a long-sleeve button down shirt, an overcoat and a tie! We were one good looking couple. We went to an Italian restaurant a couple blocks from the apartment called Rinata. We walked since it was so close. It was April, but it was April in Minnesota…so it was cold. I later found out Alex was wearing long underwear under his pants, which I found especially hilarious since I only had on nylons.

Alex and I had already fallen in love and decided to officially be in a relationship, yet we were both a little nervous for our first official date. Before the waitress filled our water glasses we kissed, which Alex took as a sign that the date was going really well. We shared a bottle of wine and since we were both debating between the same pizza and pasta dishes we ordered both and shared them as well.

The date went so well. We laughed. We smiled. We held hands. We got a little tipsy. We shared a scoop of gelato. We had a good time. It was great. We even remembered, when we got back to the apartment later, to take a picture of us all dressed up.

Alex and I after a successful first date at Rinata in Minneapolis, MN.

Alex and I after a successful first date at Rinata in Minneapolis, MN.

The next day we woke up, made breakfast, and drove up to Duluth, MN. We planned to have pizza for lunch at Grandma’s Saloon & Grill. However, Google took us to a different location, which turned out was actually the original restaurant, though I’d never been there. The one I was used to going to was now called The Sports Garden Bar & Grill, and you can only get pizza if you get the buffet. Lame. I only ever had pizza there, so in the spirit of tradition we got the buffet despite the fact that it wasn’t really Grandma’s anymore and we could only get cheese pizza at the buffet. Oh well. That will probably be the last time I ever go to Grandma’s. After lunch we wandered around Canal Park, even though it was really cold outside. We wandered down to the lighthouse and took a few pictures before our faces went completely numb.

Canal Park, Duluth, MN.

Canal Park, Duluth, MN.

Because we’re very similar, Alex and I both have the habit of dipping our hands in a body of water when we encounter it for the first time. I’ve been swimming in Lake Superior, but I’m not sure I have any pictures to prove it, and I’ve been taking pictures of my hand in all the Great Lakes so far, so we walked down to a beach-like spot to stick our fingers in Lake Superior.

Unfortunately, not only did we NOT get the picture we wanted, both of us ended up with our feet in the water. Luckily, Alex’s shoes were waterproof and his feet remained dry. My Converse did not fair so well… With a soaking wet foot and frigid air I was ready to get back in the car and finish the drive to Two Harbors, MN to see my Aunt Brenda and Uncle Monkey (Mike) and cousins, Grace and Isaac.

Alex and I hung out with Grace and Isaac for a bit. Isaac taught Alex how to shoot a hockey puck and Grace and I went outside and shot some hoops. Eventually it was time for dinner and we went inside. My mom and her boyfriend, Neil, flew in from Florida for the weekend so they joined us for dinner at Mike and Brenda’s. Brenda made egg rolls and they were delicious!

After dinner, my mom and Neil headed to town, and Mike, Alex, and I went to the apartment over the garage and watched tv for a bit. Grace and Isaac joined us and then Breda came to round everyone up for bed. Alex and I found Scrabble after they left and decided to play a game. My first word scored 78 points, while Alex was stuck with only vowels… I later set myself up for a triple word score with a double letter score for a Q and told Alex that if he ruined it for me I wouldn’t talk to him for the rest of the night. He was nice, and let me have my 96 point word. Needless to say, I destroyed him in Scrabble. Sorry, not sorry hon, and thanks for letting me win.

78 points on the first word...apparently you get an extra 50 points if you use seven or more letters...

78 points on the first word…apparently you get an extra 50 points if you use seven or more letters…

The next morning at breakfast I was complaining about how I couldn’t find my Bananagrams and Brenda said they had Bananagrams and pulled them out of a drawer. Day. Made! I freaking love Bananagrams! It’s basically like Scrabble, but without the board and much faster, because you’re racing to see who can configure their letters crossword style the fastest. It’s the best!

Alex and I played solo while Brenda and Mike teamed up with Isaac and Grace. I proudly won the first game. I forget how many we played, but we played for at least an hour or so. So much fun. Alex and I were supposed to meet my mom and Neil and go hiking at Gooseberry Falls, but it was so cold, and we’re wimps, we bailed on them. Sorry, mom.

After Bananagrams Alex and I borrowed some warmer clothes from Brenda and Mike and I took him down to show him the Knife River which runs through their property. All bundled up we decided we’d probably be warm enough to brave Gooseberry. Mom had sent me pictures of the falls and they looked really cool. Plus, then we could try again to get a picture of us dipping our hands in the lake.

So Alex and I ventured off to Gooseberry. Like I said earlier, early April in Minnesota is often still cold; there was still some snow on the ground, though much of it had melted so the falls were raging.

Gooseberry Falls, Two Harbors, MN.

Gooseberry Falls, Two Harbors, MN.

The walk to the Lake Superior was longer than I’d remembered, I slipped a few times, but Alex always caught me so thankfully I didn’t fall. Once we made it to the lake I finally managed to get a picture of me dipping my hand in Lake Superior, but again got a foot totally submerged in the water. Fortunately this time I was still wearing Brenda’s waterproof winter boots instead of my Chucks so my feet stayed perfectly dry. Woo!

Dipping my hand in Lake Superior...yes, I instantly regretted it. So. Freaking. Cold!

Dipping my hand in Lake Superior…yes, I instantly regretted it. So. Freaking. Cold!

When we made it back to Brenda and Mike’s, Grace’s friend Olivia had come over. We all watched Alex’s TedTalk video and then they kept watching Alex’s SocialGoodNow videos, which he found slightly embarrassing and I thought was awesome. Grace and Olivia played us a little piano concert, including a song Olivia wrote which was incredibly impressive. Then Grace and Olivia decided to play Scattergories and I asked if Alex and I could join them. They said yes and Brenda and Mike teamed up with the girls. I love board games. They are so much fun! Of course, on multiple occasions Alex and I both picked some obscure answer and then looked at each other incredulously when we had the same thing. Seriously?! We had pizza for dinner and then Alex and I headed back to the Twin Cities.

When we got back we stopped at a grocery store to pick up some popcorn and then had a movie night and watched Stuck in Love, which is quite good if you haven’t seen it.

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