Rochester Visit

In about 2004 our computer crashed and we lost essentially all of our pictures.  Fast forward 8 years and we now have an external hard drive where we store all of our pictures.  From when Jack was born until about May 2010 I also backed up all of our pictures onto DVDs.  Then I slacked off.  For 2.5 years.  Then our external hard drive crashed.  Yep.  Looks like we might have lost it all again.  Fun times.  Luckily I have uploaded quite a few pictures to Picasa (though I don't know an easy way to save them back to my computer from there - any suggestions??), and thank goodness for my blog, but oh man, I can't believe I'm facing this AGAIN!

Anyway, back to catch-up mode.  Due to the aforementioned photo loss, all pictures on this post, aside from the few from my phone, are borrowed from Kelly.

My precious niece Parker turned one on October 3 so my parents, Jack, Charlie and I made the trek to Rochester to help celebrate.  Jason held down the fort at home.  There are no direct flights to the Roc, so we had two flights and a layover in Chicago each way.  The boys did mostly great during all the travel.  This was Jack's first flight since he's been old enough to get excited about it (last time he flew was to Aunt Kelly & Uncle Greg's wedding in October 2010 when he was 14 months old).  He looked forward to it for weeks!!
We took Jack's Leapster Explorer handheld game.  I went online a few nights before we left to download a new game for him and hit the jackpot - they have full episodes of his favorite show - Word World (side note: this might be the cutest show I've ever seen and I highly recommend checking it out on PBS).  It was really the only entertainment he needed on the plane and most of my bag of tricks went unused.

We arrived in Rochester on Friday afternoon and had a low key evening getting ready for Parker's party, which was Saturday.  Jack tried and tried to help us blow up balloons and eventually succeeded - boy, was he proud of himself!
 Saturday morning Grandpa and Uncle Greg took Jack to Oak Orchard to see some fish while Charlie, Parker, Grandma, Kelly and I got the house ready for the party.  This time of year, the salmon swim upstream and there is a huge fishing event.  They didn't fish, just checked it out and watched others fish and then had a nice lunch with Greg's dad.

The party was lots of fun.  They rented a bouncy house, so Jack was excited to wake up from his nap to see that in the yard!  The big kids had a blast in it!  Parker got lots of cool stuff and it was nice to visit with their friends and Greg's family.
Birthday girl in her party dress, custom-made by Grandma!

Cake time!

We attempted to capture Parker with all of her cousins (Cate and Clare are Greg's sister's daughters), but Charlie wasn't interested

And then Parker wasn't interested
 Sunday we checked out a cool pumpkin patch, which was lots of fun.  There were big slides, train and hay rides, a corn maze and lots of animals.  The kids loved it.
Charlie sporting his Halloween shirt
Jack's ready to go

At the petting zoo

Ready to go down the slide!


Different slide - this one was super fast so he had a crazy landing!
Monday we ventured home.  Grandpa left for St. Louis Saturday night, so it was just Grandma, the boys and me on the way home.  We were a little nervous how it would go when Jack, Charlie and I didn't get a lot of sleep Sunday night and we were all pretty crabby Monday morning.  Luckily our travel day went pretty well!
Charlie snoozing on our layover

Jack's cool rocket suitcase that Grandma Clayton gave him for his birthday
 We had a great trip and now we're counting the days until we get to see them again - Christmas will be here soon!

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