13th Day: Bentleyville

Our 13th day was a day well spent in a Minnesota favorite tourist spot: Duluth!

We started by going to our favorite natural parenting store, Little Neetchers. Marshall was so excited, he loves exploring the fun toys in the open play area of the store.  Brad eyed a second Tula and I picked up some gifts for my sister’s incoming baby as she is planning on using a lot of the natural parenting techniques that we do.  And of course we had to get a few more cloth diapers for Vi & Francesca.

It’s seriously so nice shopping in a store with a play place for the kids to keep occupied (the store is very small so the kids are always within eyeshot and just feet away)

She loved trying to fill her basket with newborn cloth diapers and baby doll Tula carriers. She’s a natural mama in the making!

We love to try to shop local and eat local, when possible.  I especially like the owners of Little Neetchers- they are always working so hard in their shop and so appreciative of our patronage.

For an early dinner we stopped at a popular Minnesota pizzeria, Pizza Luce!  It has a nice laid back vibe, lots of vegan or gluten-free options, fresh ingredients, and reasonable prices.  For our kids, it was a home run.

He loved coloring in tattoos

Big smiles for the incoming pizza and cheese bread

I love my boys! And they loved their food! Marshall said the cheese pizza was amazing and Brad loved the chicken parmesan sandwich with red wine sauce.

We purposefully got to Bentleyville right at opening on a weeknight.  Couldn’t recommend that strategy enough!  It’s rare times like this that I appreciate Brad’s unconventional work schedule.  We got an awesome parking spot right at the front and there was very little people there.  We hit up all the freebies- Santa, Mrs. Claus, cocoa, cookies, and popcorn- with no lines!  We were able to walk through twice and really take our time with the lights, not feeling rushed by a crowd.

One recommendation I would make is to bring donatable goods- new toys or food. We brought a bag full of various soup cans and were the only ones.  A volunteer loudly thanked us and purposefully drew the attention of others to the fact that it’s free so that people can donate to worthy causes like we did.

Getting our free cocoa and cookies to enjoy the lights with

We loved seeing the iconic tall ships represented in lights

We found some more reindeer friends! Donner and Blitzen, is that you?

Marshall visiting with Mrs. Claus

The tree was about 128 feet tall and set to music

The lights were beautiful, but the beauty of Duluth made for a perfect night. We were treated to a super moon rising over Lake Superior

It was one of those instances where the picture just doesn’t do it justice

We were pretty much by ourselves at some points, so what better way to enjoy the display than a family dance under the lights?

Marshall and his good friend Santa. They had a nice long talk and it totally made Marshall’s night.

All smiles in their new Bentleyville hats! Every child under 10 years old that visits Santa gets a free knit hat and bag of cookies.

Marshall’s little silhouette dancing against the Bentleyville lights

This KC boy still has a special spot for trains in his heart

Mommy & Marshall club

Our winter gift. We can’t wait to meet her!

Daddy’s girl cuddling in close to her favorite person in the whole world


The thirteenth day was the best yet.  It was so nice hitting up some of our favorite places and getting to selfishly indulge relatively crowd free.  The kids loved every bit of it and were thoroughly tired out for the ride home.  It was so nice being able to quietly end the day talking with my husband as we drove across the dark countryside.  It really is the little things isn’t it?  May the rest of you enjoy a silent, peaceful, night as well!

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