Sunday, August 9, 2009

Our Vacation Highs, Lows & Learns

The Bytnar family introduced us to a fun dinner-time tradition called High, Low, Learn a couple of years ago. It is a great way to get conversation flowing at the dinner table. Each person at the table gets to share his/her "High" for the day, "Low" for the day, and "Learn" for the day. If you have the same High, Low, Learn as the person who spoke before you, then you need to try to state it in a new way (no copying). We have made a few adaptations such as saying "Marco-NO low" (think Marco-Polo) if you had no low for your day.

Just like regular life, we had some ups and downs on our 1 week family vacation. So I thought I would share my version of High, Low, Learns from our trip.


  • Hiking to the Minnehaha Falls: Hard to believe there is such natural beauty right in downtown Minneapolis. Thanks to Denise & Lance for the recommendation!
  • ValleyFair: Steel Venom was my favorite ride followed closely by the Power Tower. 12 hours of adrenilin rushs and super expensive, but delicious junk food!
  • Special time with extended family: We were able to have some one-on-one time with Uncle Ralph and Aunt Syrie, which we haven't been able to do in several years. They really are a wonderful couple. Additionally, we got to spend time with our cousins, Paul & Nikole Rutzen & family both at Valleyfair and at their home for a delicous supper. We feel like kindred spirits and the 2nd cousins get along so well, too.


  • Didn't bring the right lens for camera to ValleyFair. I bought a new zoom lens which has a 200 mm focal length 2 days earlier, but in the mad dash to get on the road I left it at the hotel when we went to ValleyFair. Of course, I didn't notice it until we got to the gate, so had to work with my 50 mm lens only. Great for close-ups but {sigh} wasn't all that I wanted. At least I didn't run out of batteries!
  • Victors 1959 Cafe was way better on Food Network then in person. The coveted Cuban style MEAT sandwich looked so delicious on Food Network's Diners, Drive-In's & Dives but was a disappointment in real-life. The atmosphere was very unique (a little crazy) and the food was good. I think we had just build up too high of expectations.
  • Make sure you are at the right hotel before you unload the car. I navigated us to the hotel I thought I had reserved, but after the receptionist couldn't find our reservation, I pulled out my printed confirmation and realized, we were at the wrong hotel! 15 extra minutes to re-pack the car and get us to the right place almost made us late for the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre. MY BAD!
  • The girls and I LOVED the American Girls Place at MOA, but I am going to go out on a limb to say it was probably Steve's LOW for the trip. However, he was very tolerant and didn't say a word that it took the girls over an hour to pick out what they were going to spend their hard earned cash on. Wish it wasn't so expensive there!

  • Drive time on the way home was down right miserable. Even with a traveling DVD player to occupy their time, the girls were extremely argumentative on the three hour trip from the cities back to Fergus. I am thinking too much togetherness and sleep deprivation were to blame. Not a fun way to end the trip, that is for sure!


  • The Titanic was a magnificent ocean liner and horrible tragedy as well. The exhibit at the Science Museum was personalized by assigning each of us with a boarding pass of an actual person who was on the Titanic. At the end of the exhibit, you could read and find out if "you" survived. Steve (1st class), Kippy (2nd class) and Abby (3rd clas) each survived, but I (3rd class) didn't and neither did my husband or my NINE children.
  • The last available booth in the very back of the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre in the left-hand corner is still a GREAT seat! We absolutely loved the performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Even though we didn't have premium seating, we all could see and experience the show. The girls were singing some of their favorite tunes every time we were in the car for the rest of the trip.
  • Motion sickness bands work fabulously! With endorsements from both Kathy and Sherri , I should have known they would do the trick. Abby gets "emotion sickness", but she went on all almost every ride at Valley Fair and did just fine. She opted out of the Flying Trapeze and The Monster... too much spinning, but hey, no mini-donuts ended up on my feet (inside joke).
If you try HIGH, LOW, LEARN at your dinner table, let me know how it goes!


Lori said...

That looks like a fabulous trip. What a fun week. I have some of those bands. I wore them on the cruise I went on. They worked....they just didn't go with my outfit. :) I took them off and was fine most of the time. I hope you're not too sore today!!!

the mom~ said...

Ahhhhh....looks like a wonderful trip. My brother Marvin does the high/low with their family...neat idea. We already have SOOO much talking at our dinner table that we save ours for bed time but instead we do "What are you thankful for?" A great way toe nd the day!

Anonymous said...

I love that some of our traditions have been incorporated into your family. Makes me smile really big!

We have adopted Marco-no-low from you guys as well.

Today I said....what is your high, what is your low, what did you learn, and what are you going to do nice for your Mom today? We incorporated what did you do nice for someone today but today I needed extra love so I put a spin on it for me. The kids cracked up and were there to give me something right away. Unloading the groceries and a 10 minute massage were wonderful!

Heather said...

I am happy that you had a great vacation.....the highs and lows will both make for great family memories for years to come.