Summer vacation 2011

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Pat celebrated 20 years at his place of employment in February and was given a $500 AAA gift certificate. We originally were going to take a romantic trip with just the two of us, but we are pathetic and were sad thinking about the kids missing out on a fun trip. So we decided to take a family vacation instead and came up with a great compromise. Invite my parents and sister along to help with the kids. Family time. Alone time. Win. Win.

We had originally decided on Omaha, but with the flooding we changed out minds to Minneapolis. Plus, going to Minneapolis would allow us to visit Princess and Prankster!

We started out on Thursday, July 14th, hitting the road around noon.  To Angel and Caleb’s delight my sister rode with us.

The trip was pretty uneventful and we made it to the Cities by around 2:30, checked into our hotel and had a little rest before going over to Princess’s house. Unfortunately Prankster had to work all weekend, but Princess made us a fabulous supper and we got to see their new apartment.  They have a playground in their apartment complex and so after supper we all went outside and Aunt Nellie entertained the kids while we visited with Princess.

The excitement (or not) of the night was when Caleb and I went inside so he could go to the bathroom and he fell down their stairs. He fell hard, looked like he twisted his neck badly and then hit his head on a grill that was at the bottom of the stairs.  Seriously this boy is a walking accident and he scares his mama to death.  Thankfully he was fine after a little cuddling and as soon as Prankster got home was wrestling and being a crazy two year old boy again.

Our hotel was pretty amazing. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriot in Mendota Heights, MN.  If you are ever in the cities I highly recommend this hotel. We had two adjoining rooms. One was a king suite for only $89 a night. The bed was in a separate room and then there was a living room with couch, fridge and microwave. The other room had 2 double beds for only $69 a night but was still really spacious. Each room had a balcony and that was so nice.

There’s not a continental breakfast but for $10 more, 2 adults and 2 kids can eat at their breakfast buffet. Amazing. Well worth the money ($2.50 each!). We brought cereal and milk for our breakfast but ended up doing the buffet on our last morning and it was great.

Thursday night was a pretty late night as my parents didn’t get there until about 9 pm. The kids were so excited and it was at least 11 pm by the time they settled down. Unfortunately we had an early wake up call because we were going on an Amtrak train ride at 8:00 am Friday morning. We had to leave the hotel at 7 am to get there in time.

My mom and dad dropped us off and then drove to Red Wing to pick us up. I wish we all could have ridden the train but the return train didn’t come back until late Friday night and we didn’t want to spend the whole day in Red Wing.

My parents, sister, Patrick and the kids right before we boarded.

Having a (very expensive) snack on the train.

The train ride was fun although my sister and I got a little nauseous. The kids thought it was awesome.  We arrived in Red Wing around 9 am and then went down and walked around the marina for a bit before it started to rain. So we headed back to the big city.  We went back to the hotel to plan our day and decided that we’d go to Joe’s Crab Shack for lunch before going to the Minnesota Children’s Museum.

Angel eating “octopus”. It was actually calamari but she thought it was pretty awesome to call it octopus and stick the legs out of her mouth. Gag.

This picture scares me.

After consuming an obscene amount of crab legs, shrimp, mussels and crawfish Pat had the audacity to order THREE desserts. Crazy man.

Yes. That is my son sitting on the table.

The whole group of us. Papa’s not pictured because he met up with us a little late.

After our amazing lunch we went to the Minnesota Children’s Museum.  Love this picture of my sister, mom and dad jumping over the puddle with the kiddos.

The museum was pretty amazing. Very hands on. We actually have one an hour away from us but haven’t made it there yet. Looking forward to visiting it now that we have experienced the MN one!

Angel and Caleb making their TV debut singing “The Wheels on the Bus.”

Doesn’t he make a cute turtle!

As I mentioned in my last training update Friday afternoon on the way back to our hotel I got sick. The kids, Pat and Princess went for a swim and then eventually they all ordered pizza and we ended up just hanging out in the hotel room. We were all so exhausted from the previous late night, Friday’s early morning and busy day. I made the kids go to bed at 9:00 pm and I think the adults followed shortly after.

On Saturday we slept in. Well until the kids pounced out of bed at 8:00 am. But that’s sleeping in for them.  We had planned to go to the Mall of America but my sister and I also wanted to stop at a consignment store we had found the day before. So my parents took the kiddos to a marina not too far away (my parents love to walk around and look at boats at marinas), and Pat, my sister and I went to the consignment shop.   Well actually Pat stayed in the car and took a nap. We had planned to meet back up at the Mall of America at 11:30 am as we were meeting my aunt and uncle for lunch.  The consignment shop got the best of us and we were a little late but finally all made it to the Mall by noon.

After lunch we headed down to Nickelodeon Universe. Angel and Caleb were so excited because we had told them that they were going to get to meet Dora and Diego.  We got there just in time, we were the last ones they allowed in until the next meet and greet a few hours later.  

Angel RAN to Dora and gave her a hug. It was so awesome.

Caleb, despite the fact that he asks 12 times a day to watch Diego and gets upset when he has to wear any other underwear other than Diego underwear was freaked out. Perhaps it was because they were, ya know, huge. He refused to give him a hug or high-five and hardly even looked at him, clinging to Daddy the whole time.

“Daddy save me from this monster of a thing impersonating my idol Diego.”

After Dora and Diego we rode some rides. We being the kids, Pat, Princess, Aunt Nellie and Mom and Dad. Just looking at them made me want to hurl. (Sorry.)

LOVE this picture. Angel wanted to drive and refused to sit in the top with Princess.  Poor Princess.

On the ferris wheel.

After we got our share of rides, mom offered to get us girls a massage. Ya! Dad and Patrick were going to take the kids to the movie Cars 2 but they just missed it. We got our massages, my sister and I got hair cuts and then they all went back to the hotel while Pat and I made a stop at Ikea.  Thankfully I still wasn’t feeling the greatest which meant I wasn’t really in a shopping mood. (Although you wouldn’t have known that earlier at the consignment shop!)

We got back to the hotel around 7:00 pm. My aunt and uncle had gotten the kids gifts and so we opened them. What a blessing!  They had a blast playing with their toys and reading their books the rest of the night.

Sunday morning we headed for home but first met up with Princess and Prankster for an early lunch.  We made a quick stop at an outlet mall on the outskirts of the Cities and it was about 2:00 by the time we got on the road again. It was at that time that our air conditioner decided to go out.  It was of course one of the hottest days in the history of the world. We drove the 3.5 hours home with the windows down all the way. Thankfully the kiddos were in the back and so it was a little cooler back there without the sun beating down on them.

Here they are with wet towels on their heads trying to keep cool.

Of course it’s always good to be home and boy was that true for this trip. I don’t think we’d ever been so thankful for our air conditioning in our house!

Great memories made!

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