Last month my parents came to visit. Having been to Rochester on more than one occasion they've pretty much been there, done that. I mean as much as we love the place, admittedly there is not a whole lot to do on "vacation."
So we met them up in Minneapolis and spent the next 4 days exploring, keeping the kids busy, and having fun (and maybe getting lost, because can you believe not one of us has a smart phone??)
My mom came with literal backpacks full of gifts, including Dr Bear, Alex's constant companion for the duration of the trip.
The kids were so excited to see Grandma and Grandpa again.
And Avery...well, she slowly warmed up.
Day One was spent at Como Zoo. Small, free, fun.
And I now have pictures of Alex, just like this one, with every statue in the park.
Noah will not be pictured much, but we did catch him "training fish" in the gardens at Como Zoo, which were amazing.
We ended the day at the hotel pool - and luckily the jacuzzi was the size of a small pool because that's where most of us wanted to be.
Paul joined us Friday night, and Saturday morning we headed over to the Mall of America. Because you can never run out of things to do at the Mall of America.
Noah was finally tall enough to do every ride in the park - and that's exactly what he and Paul did. And let me tell you there are some crazy insane rides in there. Brain Scrambler, Avatar. I mean for reals.
I was slightly nervous about what Noah's reaction would be to his first major roller coaster experience...needlessly. I've never seen a kid so excited as he tried to describe every twist and turn - and his descriptions were hilarious, complete with facial expressions and hand and body movements.
My mom and I took Alex to do some tamer rides and I'm not sure who had more fun. We were laughing our heads off at her reactions. This mini-drop zone was the best. Eyes getting bigger and bigger as she rose to the top, then hysterical laughing all the way down (and she inherited Paul's laugh, which if you've never heard I just feel sorry for you).
Alex really knows how to put on a show.
Then Alex sat next to this stranger on the roller coaster and they immediately became best friends, holding hands and giggling the whole way. So funny.
That afternoon, while the boys (and the baby) were still at the mall my mom and I took Alex to the Children's Theatre. It was quite the adventure just getting there, but Alex's first theatre experience was priceless. She really did not know what to expect, and when she realized the actors were real people she thought the whole story was actually happening. Alex was so cute with her comments and reactions through the whole thing, it was so much fun! She loved it and so did we. We're definitely going back.
Sunday morning we found a random ward where we could stand in the hall with all of our naughty children I mean attend church.
Then we took a boat ride down the Mississippi River. The whole weekend had been gray, rainy, and cold but Sunday was a beautiful day.
With beautiful views of the city.
And funny faces of Avery.
And family pictures minus one certain child.
Paul had to head back home that night but we were glad he had the weekend off to play with us.
My parents were flying out Monday afternoon, but Monday morning we found an awesome toy store with really cool toys that the kids can play with.
They had an art room where Noah and Alex got to do all kinds of cool stuff, including decorating these flip-flops for kids in Darfur. Noah thought it was pretty awesome, that a kid in Africa would soon be wearing the sandals he decorated.
And then it was time to say goodbye, always too sad.
And although three kids in a hotel room (and eating out with them for every meal) is not always the easiest or most pleasant experience the trip was so much fun and well worth the sleep deprivation they caused.
Thanks for coming out to play with us Grandma and Grandpa!
p.s. we also managed to squeeze in a movie in the hotel room every night with the kids (complete with room service ice cream sundaes) and I had a nice dinner out with just my parents (has that ever even happened before??)
Good memories : )