Tales of the weary travelers

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As you know my hubby was in Las Vegas two weeks ago for work.  He got home Saturday January 25th around noon and took the entire week off last week! I had to work Saturday and Sunday night that weekend so that was a bummer but then I didn’t work again until this last Friday.

My dad’s birthday was yesterday (hi Dad!) but since we couldn’t be with him on his actual birthday we planned a little party half way between us and my parent’s last Monday night. My sister was also able to come and we decided to get a hotel room for my parents to stay over and then the kids could swim and we could spend a little extra time there. We got there on Monday about 1:00 pm, checked into the hotel and went swimming. My sister got there around 3:00 pm and joined us swimming. Angel loves to swim and Caleb used to love to swim. But for some reason he didn’t love it so much this time. It seemed like he didn’t like the feeling of not wearing a diaper. It was kinda funny.  And you already saw here what he decided to wear when he finally thought it was ok to get wet.

My parent’s got there about 5:00 and we had supper (all of us brought something to share), we hung out in the hotel room for awhile and then we swam some more before heading for home around 8:30 pm.  Unfortunately I couldn’t go to bed when we got home because the next morning we were leaving early for Minneapolis to see Princess and Prankster and I hadn’t even started packing.

Our goal was to leave by 8:00 am on Tuesday morning and we were actually on the road by 8:04 am. Miracles do happen!  So we set off for Minneapolis, two newly potty trained toddlers in tow and a van jam-packed with blankets, snacks, movie and books.  We only had to make one bathroom break stop during our 4 hour trip! Otherwise the kids watched a movie, napped, read books and we played “I spy”. 

We made it to the Cities just in time to have lunch with Princess as she had class at 1:30 pm. After a fabulous lunch and visit with her we went to our hotel to check in and get settled.  We stayed downtime Minneapolis and since our kids are crazy about trains we decided to try out the Metro Train for awhile. Princess and Prankster were going to join us for supper and swimming later so we had a few hours to stay busy.  It was pretty cold out but we walked the 3 blocks to the Metro depot and the kids, especially Caleb were so excited.  We rode the train for probably 30 minutes and then took another train back to our depot stop. 

Daddy and Caleb on the train (sorry bad picture)…

After the train ride we walked around downtown through the sky walks, had a snack and by about 4:30 pm we were exhausted and cold and ready to take a break.

But we are not that smart. We wanted to get some snacks, juice, milk and breakfast stuff for our hotel room and decided to try to find a Target store that is in a big mall downtown. I looked it up online and it was only about 6 blocks from our hotel and looked pretty easy to find.   Well, easy it was not.  Not only was it rush hour but the directions online weren’t correct (really, it wasn’t me) and so we should have been on 9th when the directions said 6th. We finally just parked and asked someone and then had to walk, well 3 blocks, but we went the long way through the winding confusing downtown mall thing. Finally we found Target and by then I was crabby (imagine that) and so our shopping experience wasn’t very fun.  The kids were very crabby (imagine that), hungry and tired and so we made it a quick shopping trip and headed for home.  Princess and Prankster are wonderful and came over with pizza soon after we got back to the hotel and we were all very happy to finally eat.

After supper we all headed down to the pool and had a fun time of swimming. Well all of us but Caleb. We were thinking with Princess and Prankster there he would be brave and get in the pool but he still wasn’t liking it.  So he just sat on the edge of the pool and splashed everyone.  It was just us in the pool and it was perfect.  We swam for about an hour and then went back to the hotel room and watched a movie and had some time to visit with the love birds.  It was great to have some time with them!

Caleb wearing Prankster’s shoes…

Rough housing…poor Princess and Prankster! Really. Caleb is just fine.

Wednesday we spent the entire day at the Mall of America. Otherwise known as the Mall of Take All My Money. It was a really good day but by 5:00 pm we were completed wiped out.  We got there at 9:30 am before the stores even opened and the first thing we did was buy a video camera. The one on our camera stinks and our other one broke. I’m so thankful to finally have one again. After that we went to the Aquarium. The kids loved it. It’s quite spendy considering you get through it in 30 minutes and you have to pay extra to touch the stingrays, which we didn’t. But it was still alot of fun.

Walking through the aquarium tunnels… (Sorry bad picture!)

We then had to decide if we should ride rides or eat lunch a little early.  We thought we’d do lunch first otherwise if the kids get hungry they get really cranky. We went to the Rainforest Cafe and sure enough Angel loved it. Caleb kinda liked it. He didn’t like the dancing monkeys or the thunderstorms. So he liked about 1/4 of the experience. The rest of the time he clung for dear life to mommy’s neck.  We had a great surprise towards the end of our lunch and Princess and Prankster decided to come join us!

Angel and Princess enjoying our fat-free, low-calorie dessert! (Ha!)

Hanging out at the bar. Sitting on animal bar stools. It’s the little things that make us happy!

Princess and Prankster decided to spend the afternoon with us so after lunch we headed to Nickelodeon Park so the kids all of us could ride some rides.  Unfortunately our two toddlers are hindered by their height and they couldn’t go on half the rides they wanted to. But there are quite a few toddler rides and the ones where they were two short we were able to ride along.

Daddy and Angel in the one ride that scared the bageebies out of all of us! It was very jerky and both kids almost lost their lunch!

The carousel…

The fam on the Diego Bus…

Pat and the kids on the big trucks. Caleb’s favorite!

The kids with Diego, Dora and Boots…

The big kids, aka Patrick and Prankster also rode some of the scary rides. And Pat made me do the ropes course. I’ve bungy jumped before and so I’ve always been all talk about what a dare-devil I am. Well folks, it’s all been a lie. The ropes course did me in. It looks like I’m way off the ground in the picture but I was only on the first level. Sure, it was still high enough to throw Caleb into a tizzy about mommy dying (seriously he freaked out), but I only made it two levels before heading for firm ground.  Pat made it to the third level and was pretty proud of himself. I was proud too because he’s very afraid of heights.

The crazy people…


Princess and Prankster left around 3:00 pm and the rest of us did a few more rides before the kids were close to complete meltdown.  We then decided to walk around the mall for awhile and the kids fell asleep in the stroller. Thank you Lord for double strollers!  After walking for an hour and 1/2 we figured it was time to head back to the hotel. We thought about going to a movie but the kids (and us) were just too exhausted. We stopped at the little supermarket at the mall and got some fruit and veggies for supper and headed back to the hotel. After our light supper the kids got a second wind and wanted to go swimming again. Only this time we didn’t have Princess and Prankster to help out and I know I sound ridiculous but it’s just alot of work with our two kiddos at a pool.  Especially since they got naps and we didn’t!  We didn’t last long and it was pretty full with other people so it wasn’t too long before we were back to our room.

Thursday morning we relaxed at the hotel, played and watched a movie. We had to be packed up and checked out by 10:30 am as we were going over to Princess’s apartment at 11:00 am.  With cupcakes. Princess lives a few blocks from an amazing cupcake bakery and it’s become a tradition for us!  We relaxed at Princess and Prankster’s apartment for a few hours before Princess headed off to class and we headed to IKEA.

Four hours later the kids were ready to scream at us for making them hang out at IKEA for that long, most of the time in the cart.  Oh wait. They did scream.  Actually they did pretty good and we were able to find some stuff to finally decorate our home after living there for 8 years!  We were planning to head for home Thursday night, but not before having supper with Princess and Prankster at a cute little cafe that has the best fries and milk shakes.   Did I mention we ate horrible on our little trip? No? Ok, nevermind.

Around 6:30 pm we were on the road and home around 10:30 pm. While we had a wonderful time it was equally wonderful to sleep in our own beds!

I had to work Friday night but thankfully not this last weekend so we were able to get rested up from our vacation and just lay low. The kids are so ready to get back into a normal – or as close to normal as possible – routine. It’s been a crazy, fun, busy, exhausting couple of weeks with lots of memories made!

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