We had an action-packed Valentine’s Day this year. Mark said it was one of his favorite Valentine’s Days ever. There’s steep competition, considering I got a not-quite-engagement ring on Valentine’s Day 10 years ago.


We went to Midwest Kids Fest at the RiverCentre. I had expected there to be a lot more things for the kids to do, and for more of those things to be free. Luckily they both enjoyed the three free inflatables and didn’t complain too much that we wouldn’t let them do the two that cost money. Grace was really dissapointed that she couldn’t get her face painted but $5 just seemed ridiculous for that. The one thing we sprang for was the $5 pony ride. They chose the two largest ponies and both wanted to do it again when they were done.

Mike McDole of Party Crashers was making balloon animals near the pony rides. Both kids wanted one, and we told them to go ahead since his sign said “I work for tips.” Then we heard him asking kids, “Do you have a tip for my tip jar?” and refusing to do balloons if they didn’t. OK, fine. I gave 50 cents to each kid. He saw me and said, “Any bill will do ma’am.” Are you kidding me? A dollar for a stupid balloon animal? Well, Grace already had her heart set on a purple butterfly so we said they could get one to share. And amazingly, they did share. They took turns making “Violet” fly through the skyways on our way back to the Macy’s parking ramp.

We were impressed that Grace and Connor both walked the whole way to the RiverCentre and back with no complaints. It was close to a half-hour walk each way by skyway. We only had one minor issue all day. While Mark was off on his own and I was holding Ellie without the sling, Connor ran away from me and Grace started bleeding from under her fingernail while in a bounce house. Any blood is a major emergency in Grace’s mind. Luckily, Mark found us pretty quickly and we got the situation under control. Unfortunately, this happened just as I saw a high school friend, so I ended up not getting a chance to talk to her.

We entered both big kids in a cute kid contest, where the kids went up on stage and answered a few questions asked by a member of the Teddy Bear Band. Grace got stage fright and wouldn’t say or do a thing, after having said she was going to go up and do a handstand. When asked what he got to do special because it was Valentine’s Day, Connor said “eat donuts.” (We went to Granny’s Donuts for breakfast.) The rest of his answers were yesses and nos but they were cute yesses and nos. He won third place, a photo session and 11×14 portrait from Kari Layland Photography! I’m hoping she’ll let us use it for a session with all three kids.


After Kids Fest, Mark decided we should try out Mickey’s Diner again, to see if it could make it onto his Top Burger List. We went there once before and his order was messed up, so it didn’t make the list that time. Well, it sure won’t make it this time either.

It was busy when we arrived but a couple gave up their booth and sat at the counter so we could have the booth. A waitress brought us water and menus right away. She took our order pretty quickly. Then she dissappeared. I don’t know what happened, but she left before her shift was over. So the cook himself was bringing orders out (slowly) to the four booths.

We got our malts right away, which held us over for a while. My hot ham and cheese finally arrived and Connor and I ate it with still no sign of Mark’s burger in sight. The replacement waitress that was called in came over and asked everyone if they were still waiting for food. The table next to us was missing two orders as well.

An hour and a half after arriving, the burger and fries were served. And Ellie started screaming. I took her out to the car to nurse her. (I normally don’t mind doing it in public but the quarters there were a little too tight for me to be comfortable with it.) The kids and Mark gobbled up the 1/2 lb burger and fries while I was gone.

I asked later if the burger was worth the wait. No, it wasn’t. Would it have made the list if it was served in a reasonable amount of time? Probably not. Sorry, Mickey’s. Cute as you are, you just don’t have the greatest burgers. The malts sure were good though.

I came back in from nursing to see Mark and the waitress trying to sort out the bills. They always put each person’s order on a seperate bill instead of each table, so there was a lot of confusion over which bills belonged to who in the booth area. And one would think after all that, we would get a discount. Nope. Mark was torn on whether to leave a tip because it wasn’t the replacement waitresses fault that everything went south. He decided not to; the people next to us did. What would you have done?