Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Multitude of Minnesota Moments (MN Trip Part 3 of 3)

Family picture after church in Minnesota.
Besides living dangerously with Dah-Dee-Doh, we played hard doing more traditional children's activities in Minnesota.  Here's a round up of the rest of our visit to  the great midwest:

The Mall of America.  No trip to Minnesota is complete without a stop at the "Great and Spacious Building." We went for Toddler Tuesdays, which meant free kid entertainment, free kids meals at some of the restaurants, and reduced-cost tickets for the rides at Nickelodeon Universe.

Coloring while waiting for the Toddler Tuesday show to start at the Mall of America.  Can you guess what Katie's favorite color is right now? 
Old Navy had free balloons-on-a-stick.  (There's a helium shortage after all, dontchaknow... :)
Playing at the Lego tables in Lego Land.    This is Bryan's "happy place."

Grandma even splurged and treated the kids to a few kiddie rides at Nickelodeon Universe in the mall.  Hopefully Robyn's real bus next week doesn't go up, down, and around the way this one did!
The girls were squealing with glee on this ride: you'd have thought we were at Disneyworld, not in a mall!
Yeah...I think they had fun.  Although the rides might have scrambled Amber's brain a little?

From the biggest mall to the smallest shop.  Grandma had read an article in the newspaper about a funny store that stocked all sorts of bizarre sodas and candies which she and Bryan tracked down while I visited a good teacher-friend from middle school one afternoon.

Lollipops as big as your head and brands of soda you've never heard of = lots of fun for Bryan.

Each of the girls got to pick out a treat.  Robyn found an assortment of candy jewelry and Katie found the world's fattest Smarties.

Dad took Thursday and Friday off from work, which gave us a chance to visit the Como Zoo and the Minnesota Children's Museum all together.

The Como Zoo is different from the Minnesota Zoo (and it's free, which is awesome) and I have to admit I haven't been there in years.  In fact, the last time I actually remember going I think I was eight, and all I really remember from that trip was feeling really really hot, eating a bomb pop to try and cool off, then going home and being so feverish I had crazy dreams and talked in my sleep about "purple fingers."  

Bryan's convinced it's ALWAYS cold in Minnesota.  It would help if we stopped visiting on the coldest weeks of the summer.  Having to wrap up in blankets to stay warm on picnics isn't helping my let's-move-to-Minnesota campaign.

Posing on the giant tortoise statue at the Como Zoo.
Thought this Lion taking a nap in his pool kind of looked like a gigantic hamster.  (Right?  Or am I crazy?)

Ahh...the big Don monkey statue.  I *do* remember him from my childhood.  (My Dad's name happens to be Don...)
Group shot sitting in the Como Zoo Conservatory.  The Conservatory was actually much much cooler than I remembered.
Katie using her zoo map as a spyglass to keep an eye on Grandma and Dah-Dee-Doh.

Since we did the zoo on Thursday, that left the Children's Museum for Friday.  We currently have a Children's Museum membership that admits us to museums all around the country, but starting in April 2013 the ACM (Association of Children's Museums) is changing their policy and from that point forward membership will only get you half-priced admission at museums on their list.  That was good motivation to squeeze in a trip to the Minnesota Children's Museum on this trip while it was still free.

Matthew eyes the big fuzzy frog puppet warily.
It was all monkey business at the Curious George exhibit.

Robyn especially loved the neighborhood area of the museum where she got to dress up like a mail carrier (just can't say "mail-woman"...sounds like too much of an oxymoron!) and deliver letters.

The oh-so-rare Amber turtle in it's natural habitat.
Robyn looking rather Glinda-esque with the giant bubbles.
Katie was especially fun to play with at the Children's Museum, earning herself a few extra pictures in the blog post:

So much fun!

They had an art room where the kids were supposed to try making different textures in clay using dinosaurs.  Katie quickly decided that was a perfect waste of good play toys and before long we were having a dinosaur parade on the floor.

This was the biggest hoot.  There was a play doctor's office where Katie fell in love with a lifelike little baby dolly.  Apparently we express affection in our home by changing diapers, because that is what Katie did over and over and over.  And, lacking any wet wipes, she did what any good mom would do and improvised, wiping him again and again with a stuffed small intestine from the anatomy display.  Appropriate.

Besides exploring every attraction aimed at small children in the twin cities metro area, Bryan and I also had a chance to reconnect with some old friends.  I'm kicking myself for not getting pictures of most of these get togethers--we must have been too busy enjoying the company!--but we did have a wonderful time seeing good friends from bygone days.

I did manage to remember to snap a few pictures of my friend Kirsta's baby shower though.  I especially like the group shot of all of us.  Hard to believe we've been friends more than half our lives at this point!

Kirsta trying on the baby's hoodie towel.

This watermelon baby buggy was our contribution to the spread.
And this is how it looked shortly before the shower when Bryan and Dah-Dee-Doh turned it into a rat-mobile....

Although it seemed like we were go-go-going most of the time we were in Minnesota, we did manage to sneak in a little time for the low-key good-stuff that makes going to Grandma's so fun.
Like eating homemade lemon-vanilla ice cream:

And watching movies in the basement:

And enjoying sweet Grandma-baby snuggles:

Thanks for letting us come visit!  There's just no place like Grandma's!!

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