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The Valley of Mansions and Marriages

Out of the shadows of Duluth Blake showed up for a venture back to the Valley of the Fox.

Apparently his car broke and my dad picked it up from him to fix it. Blake needed a ride to the wedding so he took a bus down to Minneapolis and rode with us.

Before heading home we decided to check out the North Loop Salvation Army. If you haven't been there, the combo of old school Salvation Army and a massive as-is store make this the best thrift store in the Twin Cities. Because of that you have to come early and often.

Because of this store we really have no reason to go to Target where most of the stuff comes from

They even had a white-electric version of our stove.

Whenever Blake and Brooke are together they play Draw Something. Brooke's addiction is becoming akin to my ravenous appetite for news reading.

Blake's a better drawer than me so I usually cheat and have him draw for me. 

We were all hungry so we stopped at the Norkse Nook. No, not the cafe, but the restaurant just across the street in Osseo. I feel like the cafe is where the locals go, forcing all the tourists into the newer digs.

It was super busy with Norwegian elderly decedents. We had to wait a while for a table.

Scott was convinced that in order to work here you had to have blonde hair. As the Swedes are more known for their blonde hair I didn't think that was  true.

I feel like we're having a case of deja vu. This time I had  mashed potatoes and Norwegian meatballs stuffed in a bread bowl. My meatballs are way better.

I had to get something wrapped in lefse. Although looking back I think I ordered the same thing. 

We all decided against pie and got cookies instead.

Blake and I shared a sour cream sugar cookie. We were both intrigued by the sour cream part, but it ended up being a delicious cookie. 

We stopped at my parents house to drop off Blake.

My parents have visited the Minneapolis Institute of Arts on more than one visit to see us. My dad saw some of the art and said I can do that. He just so happened to have a piece laying on the floor of the garage. Actually it's quite good.

Any art dealers interested?

Mr. Mike was finished rebuilding the cabinets between the stove and new refrigerator. He just hasn't had time to come up.

We eventually want to replace our countertops and so he asked us if we wanted to do tile or butchers block on the cabinet we were working on. I was surprised when I saw he had picked a fake granite top. He said he only got it for a dollar so we feel less guilty about replacing it. 

Mr. Mike sure is a busy guy. Fixing stuff for his kids is a full-time job.

Blake stole Chelsea's old trumpet to use in his folk band.

We ate chili before heading to Zach and Ann's.

My dad wanted crackers with his soup, but they didn't have any. Then he said corn chips would be really good. I said I saw some with their snacks. He found the corn tortilla chips and said, no not these corn chips. I had no idea what he was talking about. Then my mom said, Fritos? He then left in the middle of dinner to go get Frito's.

Whenever we come to town we never get a chance to see Zach and Ann. Lately whenever they are in Minneapolis they call us so I made sure this time we were going to see them. I still hadn't seen their house since they moved in like 4 or 5 years ago. I loved their basement with the bar they built.

Mercedes was a rambunctious little one.

While putting our bags in our digs for the night we found a picture of Brooke.

Their guest room was so nice. Scott said, "I feel like I'm staying at a hotel." 

Before getting our drink on we had to try out the Oshkosh version of Leon's Frozen Custard.

I got a blueberry malt. The custard was definitely great, but I couldn't taste the blueberries.

Even though it was cold out I still went for an ice cream cone.

We then got some drinks at Zach and Ann's favorite watering holes. 

The first place we went to was Oblio's. Apparently it's the oldest bar in Oshkosh. Although we hung out in the newer part. 

At our second stop we just got a beer and then moved on again.

We decided to get a quick bite at Fat Mama's. This was some amazing drunk soul food. Who doesn't love a po'boy. Not much I can say about that tapestry.

Then we stopped at one more bar before heading home.

We crawled out of bed.

Zach and Ann had to leave early in the morning. We were meeting Blake in Oshkosh at 11 so they said we could stay as long as we needed. 

We packed up our things and headed out. We want to come back next summer and go on boat rides with them.

We passed by the Oshkosh Public Museum. I thought it had similar architecture features as the Glensheen.

We saw an Ansel Adams exhibit at the Paine Museum.

 I hadn't been here since a field trip I went on in 5th grade. I didn't realize the house was built in the 30's, but was made to look older. Each room had a binder of the details of the room. Blake looked at every one. He noticed the light fixtures were by the same people that made the ones in Glensheen. 

You couldn't take pictures inside, but outside it was peachy keen.

We had hoped to find the herb garden, but it was in the section that was getting remodeled.

Each section had a different style to give off the perception of a building built over a century or more.

Blake and I are starting a series of us at the front door of mansions. We may need to go back to Fairlawn.

No way. One time is enough.

This was my favorite mansion on our little tour.

I was thinking for some reason that the Public Museum was free. As it turns out it was not. I really just wanted to see the inside. I came here with Amanda during college a few years ago. The only thing I remember about this place is the cuckoo clock.

Zach had been talking about Chief Oshkosh beer the night before.

After our second mansion tour, this time in Appleton, Blake discovered electricity.

The basement had a little museum on the beginnings of electricity. One exhibit had this bike that you had to peddle to make lights light up and eventually would power an Edison figurine to dance. 

We went to the Hearthstone. The first house in Appleton to have electricity. I had always wanted to come here. Our tour guide was our old band teacher Mrs. Bryan. I thought she would have remembered us. Instead she asked us where we were from. The coolest part about this house is (now I'm ruining it for people who want to come here) is the glass etching. The story is the family that lived here had a teenage daughter who eventually got engaged. She wanted to make sure she got a real diamond so she etched her initials and her fiances and the date on one of the windows. Mrs. Bryan didn't know if the house had servants or not, but Blake's mansion expertise said otherwise.

Blake had to go home first to change for the wedding. We had dropped our car off at Chelsea's on the way to the Hearthstone. We hadn't had lunch or much of a breakfast so we stopped at Tom's. 

We wer hungs.

The wedding was in a small town near Oshkosh. The ceremony was in a picnic shelter. Scott made the mistake of not bringing a coat. At least the dinner afterwards was in a heated building. Scott wasn't going to bring a camera at all, but I convinced him anyways. He ended up taking more photos than he thought. 

All the in-laws didn't want to sit with their mom. I had to black mail them into sitting at our table.

This was better than it looked.

These were used to decorate the tables. Except everyone was making pictures and spelling out words with them. This was Chelsea's message to us.

Now who's the loser.

We retorted back. Later my dad laughed at us because he got his cake first so we switched the arrow around.


We all drank a lot of Spotted Cow. 

Chelsea or someone wanted a family photo. My mom said to get in closer so we did.

I couldn't get them to sti still.

Whenever we do portraits with my mom she has us stick one leg out. This is our exaggerated version. Kind of funny that we're all wearing black shoes.

Eventually they behaved themselves.

Oh yea did you know Brittany is preggers? I'm so excited that I'm going to be a real Auntie in March. 

We still had the giggles and joked around some more.

Then the son-in-laws got in on the photo fun.

Chelsea wanted a spouse picture too. Scott didn't want Blake to feel left out.

Afterwards we headed back to where the ceremony was for some dancing.

First dance. By the way the wedding was for my cousin Jared and his new bride "Shorty".

When it was time to catch the garder we forced Blake to go up. He refused and even the DJ came over to try to get him to move. Jared ended up coming over and picked him up himself and brought him over.

It's going to be hard to catch it with your hands in your pockets Blake.

Such a Blake moment.

The men sat back and downed more beers.

At some point Blake noticed the Spotted Cow wasn't gone as someone thought. It just hadn't been pumped properly.

Scott kept wanting to dance, but would never go up there with me. Until the end when we were wanting to leave.

I was too busy playing with my camera.

Before we left we scarfed down the leftovers from dinner.

I had one beef and one turkey sandwhich to fill my belly.

After the wedding we stayed with Chelsea. It wasn't far from the wedding and I had not seen her new house yet either.

I asked them what their basement was like and they said they had only been down there twice. Now I see why.

Chelsea's new dog was super hyper in the morning. As you can see in the left side of the photo she seems to be licking something on the counter when no one was looking.

I love how big Chelsea's kitchen is. I like that she can fit her table in it. Although I do like our breakfast nook too.

You can't have everything Brooke.

Lily kept jumping up at Scott, so Scott danced with her.

photo by audre
This reminds me of dancing with Ezra at the punk house.

Apparently they don't eat breakfast so we had to make our own food.

I think we should also start a series of notes on peoples fridges.

We made egg and ham sandwiches on english muffins.

Chelsea was busy making a dish for Dan to take to his friends house to watch the Packer game. We were bored so I thought I'd play Wii Fit. But the batteries were low and I was sad.

I thought we were watching the Packers game at Chelsea's, but Brooke didn't want to or something.

As we were deciding what to do Chelsea got hungry (from not eating breakfast) and grabbed a Lunchable.

Eww, gross.

I wanted to kidnap Brayden for the day, but instead we settled on heading back to Little Chute and picking up Blake.

Blake had been using his car as storage. So when my dad fixed his car he took everything out. No one could believe all this fit into his little car. Including 3 growlers we left him in Duluth on our Honeymoon.

Blake sure made himself at home.

Chelsea suggested we go to Seth's Coffee. I had never been there before. I was impressed by the space and loved all the pottery that his wife makes. I would go here all the time if I lived here.

I couldn't believe Brooke hadn't taken us here.

We are frowning like Scott.

That's only because they're frowns are too literal.

We were hungry for lunch too. I got a seasonal fall sandwich with apples and spinach. It was so good. I also loved that all the drinks were served in cups that his wife made.

I got the veggie and hummus, which was so not me. It was good though.

Chelsea told us a story that took place in this same place when it was a Pharmacy.

It must have been funny.

Then we dropped Blake off back at home as he had to drive back to Duluth. Chelsea wanted to see where her boss lived so we drove around like creeps looking for it.

He actually had the best looking house in this subdivision.

It's the one on the left.

While at the Hearthstone I grabbed a brochure that was a walking tour of historic Appleton. It was a map of homes that each had a description on who originally lived there. I didn't realize there were so many old homes here. Some dating back to the 1860's.

That license plate says something funny, but I can't read it.

This house was my favorite. I wish I could see the inside.

The Outagamie County Courthouse was also near the tour. Also pretty neat.

Some of the homes were reported to be haunted.

These houses were one of the first duplex's, although they were separated later on.

Back at Chelsea's she showed us her yard. Her house was a farm house that once owned a lot of land. Now they have a slim backyard with no access to the creek a short distance away.

She didn't remember what half the things in her garden were.

We had to wait for Dan to get home to have dinner so we ate snacks.

Scott showed Chelsea how to use the camera as I chowed down.

She used flash during the day, who does that?

Then she caught me explaining things.

Chelsea then suggested we get some wine and play board games until dinner. We were excited to be in a liquor store on a Sunday.

On Wisconsin!

For some reason I got a Sam Smith Organic Lager.

We first played Scene It? Scott kicked our butts. Stupid film minor.

Double major, double major. And didn't Chelsea win?

Nope you did.

Then Dan returned with Lily. He brought her along to play with another dog. She was a totally different dog from when she left that morning. I forgot she was even there at times. 

"C'mon guys it's obvious what it is".

We played our new favorite game. Creationary. It's like Pictionary with Legos. We need to add this to our collection.

I concur, but we still can't figure what it was.

Dan made us dinner with some duck he hunted recently. It was delicious.

After dinner we watched an episode of Extreme Couponers and called it a night. The next morning we headed back home.

So long Fox Valley. 


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