Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I'm Certifiably Insane

Don't forget: tomorrow's the last day to enter to win the PIF contest - check out Monday's post!


For my birthday last year, my sweet and generous husband arranged for a trip to NYC. We were to see Wintuck, a Cirque du Soleil show, and had front row seats. We'd also spend three days in NYC sans kids just hanging out the first week of January.

The trip was actually a lot of fun, as it had been years since I spent much time in NYC. Two of my best friends from high school had also managed to find their way to NYC, so I saw a Broadway show with one of them and her husband one night and had dinner with them and the other friend another night.

While we were reminiscing about high school and growing up in Minneapolis, etc., we hearkened back upon our days at the Fair. For the uninformed, this is the Minnesota State Fair, held the two weeks before and including Labor Day every year. Home of Princess Kay of the Milky Way carved in butter, the inventor of random foods on a stick, great livestock shows (no, that isn't an oxymoron), and from good sources, the best state fair in the country.

We decided to meet up there this August, and all was good.

The wine wore off, and I didn't think much of it. It would be fun to go, but other things kept creeping up on me and I didn't have time to worry about it. Until I got an email from one of my friends asking if we were really going because she was going to book her plane tickets.

Apparently the wine didn't wear off as much as I'd thought, and I committed to going, as did the other friend (although we still don't have confirmation from her).

After I committed, I realized what this meant. I was going to take the wee ones to a fair with hundreds of thousands of people. And I was going to drive BY MYSELF from Chicago to Minnesota with the wee ones -- both of whom get carsick in long car rides, while I just hate being in the car for more than an hour or two. Oh yeah, and I was going to drive back by myself -- or shoot myself before we got to that point, I haven't yet decided.

While the wee ones are generally well-behaved, seven loooong hours in the car do not a happy group make. And going to the Fair? A three year old and a four year old traveling with me and three adults who have no children and don't spend time around children. What was I thinking? They try to wander off when it's me with my parents who are with them all the time and know their tricks.

I seriously thought about backing out, but I can't do that to my friends, and I do truly love the Fair. I've been talking about going back since the last time I was there six or seven years ago. And two friends of mine still living in Minnesota have had second babies so far this year, and I would love to see them, too.

Would I be an evil mom if I bought leashes for the wee ones? I've seen the ones that look like animal backpacks with the tails for the leash part. Those wouldn't be too bad for a one time use like the Fair, would they? (And if I don't get collectively booed for being a rotten mom for even thinking about leashing my children, does anyone know where I can get some cheap?)

We've been practicing what to do if Mister Man gets lost. He knows to find a mom with kids and to tell her, "My name is Mister Man, and I'm lost. My mom's name is Michelle X, and her phone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. Can you please call her so she can find me?" He's finally learned our phone number, and I always have my cell in my pocket. I'm hoping that if we repeat this drill often enough that he'll be able to execute it without too many issues. As for Little Miss... if she disappears, I think I'm sunk. Like really sunk, and that has me petrified. That's part of where the leashes come in.

I do think they'd love the Fair -- or at least as much of it as we can manage before they crash. I'm still debating whether to bring a stroller or not. The Tom Thumb donuts I know they'd be all over. The quarter for a cup of milk will be cool for Little Miss (although I'm sure it's no longer a quarter!). The yellow slides with the sacks should be fun for both of them. The tons and tons of animals (fortunately my friend's husband's favorite part, too) should keep them enthralled.

I'm still working on the hotel though. I want to stay near one of the Dales (all the malls are something-Dale -- Ridgedale (closest to where I used to live), Rosedale, Southdale, etc) which would allow me to ride the bus to the Fair versus having to drive to St. Paul and try to park and get the kids into the Fair. I need a hotel that is a true suite, as I can't sit in the hallway during naptime, and I can't be perfectly still in the dark for bedtime at 7pm either. That's proving to be somewhat of a challenge, but I still have two weeks, right?

All I have to say is that Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar had better be there, because I'm buying a bucket first thing in the morning on Thursday!


Jeff August 6, 2008 at 8:26 PM  

Make sure to let me know which day you're going to be there in case we're there at the same time. It would be a shame to miss an opportunity to share something on a stick together!

morninglight mama August 6, 2008 at 8:26 PM  

No collective booing here! While I'm not a fan of the kiddie leashes for say, walking around a store with your child, I'd definitely say that taking your two kids on your own to a place as busy as a State Fair qualifies as a perfect exception. :) I say go for it (and I'd predict you could find them at or they're partner sites, one for younger kids and the other for older ones). It should be a blast for all of you!

Debbie August 6, 2008 at 9:15 PM  

Oh yes the wine goggles. The goggles you wear when everything is rosey and you commit to things like driving 7 hours with two small kids to walk around a fair. For hours. With no extra hands. Been there done that. So since you've committed. Just go. Don't overthink anything. Because you know what you will happen if you do? You won't go. So just bring a stroller and a camera. Eat alot and don't worry if someone sees you using a leash thing. You'll never see them again. And we won't tell;)

edbteach August 6, 2008 at 9:29 PM  

I think the leash idea would be a good one. Here is a link for them at Wal-Mart for less than $10.00

As for the stroller, I would take it, depending on the walking surface. Our fair grounds are always rough and uneven/muddy (it always seems to rain right before the fair here) so the stroller is actually really difficult to manuever.

Have fun!


Megryansmom August 6, 2008 at 9:42 PM  

Just stopping by to introduce myself and say hi. I saw some cute tattoos online at, in case your kids get separated from you. A marker would probably accomplish the same thing. Target sells those leashes, my daughter bought the puppt for my grandson just a few weeks ago.

Michelle August 6, 2008 at 10:39 PM  

Jeff - We're going the first Friday. I'd prefer to go Thursday, but my friends aren't flying in until that night. And sadly I've never had anything on a stick at the Fair except a pickle. I don't like corndogs and just haven't talked myself into most of the rest of it. I'm there for Sweet Martha's and the cheese curds. I could do just those two (maybe with a malt from the Dairy Barn).

Morninglight Mama - Thanks! I'm with you on not using the kiddie leashes regularly (which is why I want cheap ones as I'll never use them after this experience). I have quite a collection of items from One Step Ahead... including their Magnetic Tot Locks that TOTALLY rock for childproofing! I'll look into it.

Debbie - They've booked plane tickets, so I can't not go. And I'm so glad to hear that you've done it (or something like it) and survived with all children intact. Stroller, water bottles, granola bars and dried fruit are definitely coming with me, I think! Oh yeah -- and the camera!

edbteach - Welcome! Thanks for the link. I detest Wal-Mart, but I may have to make an exception for this one. The Fair is all on paved pretty wide "streets" so the stroller should be ok. Except in getting up the steps to the second floor of the hippodrome (I think that's the building) with all the vendor crap that's always so fun to look at!

MegRyansMom - Welcome! Thanks for the tip. I may look into those tattoos. Mister Man I think would be ok, but ... Little Miss not so much. Maybe I'll write it on her tummy with a marker? Thanks for the hints!

Mabunny August 7, 2008 at 7:48 AM  

I've never been to the MInnesota State Fair. i've only been to the Winter Carnival and it was fun.
I would use the leashes. I used one for Nicole when she was about two yrs old and we went to San Antonio to see my MIL. Going site seeing at the Alamo and such she had a fine time being able to run/walk and not always be kept in her stroller. I actually had one person comment she wished they had had leashes when her kids were younger, I never did get any negative feedback.
Good luck and hope you have a good time after all is said and done!

Cookie August 7, 2008 at 12:44 PM  

Yup, you are crazy. Maybe you should seek professional help ;)
Of course, i'm just teasing.
Good luck! I'm sure it will make for great blog material!

Angela August 7, 2008 at 7:59 PM  

I definitely don't think there is anything wrong with fastening your children to you to keep them safe! I think it's much better than taking chances with them in a crowd. Don't feel bad at all!

Hope everything goes very well at the fair and you are able to relax and enjoy. Oh, and PS - when you get a chance, you've been tagged! See my blog :-)

-Bridget August 7, 2008 at 9:34 PM  

I'm still having flashbacks from my road trip a month ago so I don't envy you at all!

Angie's Spot August 8, 2008 at 2:07 PM  

Wow, you're a brave woman! And I would check eBay for cheap kid leashes. Ha ha! Have a great time!

Michelle August 9, 2008 at 8:31 PM  

Mabunny - I've been to the Winter Carnival before, but this is much bigger (and better, but that may partially be due to the fact that I don't like the cold).

Cookie - I will admit to taking a deep breath sometimes and repeating the "it will make good blogging" mantra!

Angela - That's my rationale exactly. Rather be a "bad" parent than lose my children.

Bridget - You are not making me feel more confident! Flashbacks? really?

Angie's Spot - I actually did an eBay and Craigslist search and ... there isn't much out there! One leash only, and it was going for more than a new one PLUS $9 shipping. I'll pass!

Hot Tub Lizzy August 22, 2008 at 1:29 PM  

I just moved to NC from Minnesota and they have signs up right now for the "NC Mountain State Fair"... and it just makes me homesick because we all know it will be NOTHING compared to the "Great Get Together"

Have a cheese curd and a malt for me, okay?

Michelle August 22, 2008 at 5:08 PM  

Hot Tub Lizzy - From everyone I've ever talked to, nothing touches the MN State Fair. Are you going to to go the NC one? I did have some cheese curds ($5?! I remember when a) there were 2 sizes and b) they were $3.75 for the large one). BUT when we got to the Dairy Building, the line for the malts was SOOOOO long (and it was our last stop this afternoon), that we gave up on the idea of a malt. We're definitely coming back next year though!

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