Road Trip 2014-Day 7 (July 8, 2014)

(click here for today's pictures)
Conquering the Mall of America! (not too much shopping though)

I just can’t say it enough (and I know that I am jinxing us) but hotel sleeping is the best sleeping. Robby stirred first at 7:30 this morning and the kids woke up slowly after that. Campbell was the first kid up and she was soon dressed and helping Robby fill the ice chests with ice. This created a bit of noise-enough that Anderson looked up at me and said “what is all of that racket?”  

We were soon downstairs at breakfast and I need to make a note reminding myself to never bring a white shirt for a 2 year old to wear.  What was a I thinking?  I just cringed when I saw the juicy strawberries for breakfast.  I did my best to protect her shirt and though it did have a few spots on it, she was to wear it all day.  (If we would have been at home, I would have had her eat breakfast without her shirt on but since we were in a hotel lobby I didn’t think that would be appropriate-I thought about it though!)  But Whitman did grab Anderson’s cup full of milk and pour it all on himself during breakfast.  I wanted to just soak him in fabreeze and hope for a non-hot day so he wouldn’t start smelling like spoiled milk but Robby thought he needed a quick hose down.  So while the kids took turns pottying back in the room, Reagan sprayed the bathtub sprayer on Whitman to wash him off.   

Today was a bit of a relaxed day though we did stay out late.  Our first stop was at Mill City Museum-it was an old flour mill on the bank of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.  The museum was really neat with a very well written film, an elevator ride that showed scenes inside a mill (though Campbell was a bit afraid that it was going to be more like Tower of Terror and squeezed my arm the entire time since it went and down the 9 floors) and they even had a water play area.  The water play area was neat-the kids could help guide logs to the correct mill and dam of the water so the water wheels would turn.  We have been to Minneapolis before but this was something new and an unexpected treat.

The next stop was recommended by Uncle Les-Ice cream at Adeles.  We drove a few miles out of the way (oh what us Dennies will do for ice cream) and stopped for a pre-lunch dessert.  Anderson had himself a shake today and when he sat down on the patio with his shake in hand and said “this is the life.”  (more on him later)

The kids enjoyed their ice cream-and so did their clothes.  Keaton, white shirt girl, thankfully had vanilla ice cream so she is just sticky but doesn’t look messy.  And Whitman who was still fresh from his morning bath did manage to successfully hold Robby’s shake for our picture.  And then when Robby went to grab it from him, Robby spilled quite of a bit of it on the child.  So glad we have that fabreeze!  Ha!

Everyone finished with their ice cream-well, everyone but Campbell.  She ate and ate and finally Robby took the others to the car to load up.  I don’t know what took her so long to finish but she was serious about eating her ice cream.  Finally, I just had to feed her the last few bites and tell her that was all we had time for.  She did have a bit extra toppings since the ladies had accidentally put sprinkles on her instead of reeces.  So Robby asked them to fix it for her and they just added the reeces on top.  This delighted Campbell because she had asked if she could have sprinkles and reeces and was told no.  I guess she didn’t want any of her toppings to go to waste!

Our next stop was the Chutes and Ladders playground in Bloomington.  We had been there the last time we were here and there was no one in this huge playground...that was not so today.  This is the hugest playground that we have ever seen but unfortunately today it was the most crowded playground we had ever seen.  There was still plenty of room for the kids to play and they did...for a few minutes and then they each would come back and sat by us for a bit.  It was a bit warm but I think the kids are just a bit tired or maybe they were overwhelmed by all of the kids.  So they played for a bit more and then we let them run through the sprinklers one time before walking back to the car.

At the car, we pulled out picnic stuff and the kids found our ball and started to play ball.  They were no longer tired nor hot and they ran and ran until I called them for lunch.  It wasn’t really hot anymore, a big windstorm had come and was trying its best to blow all of our food off of the table.  I had struggled making lunch in all of that wind-plates blowing, chips flying off the plates and the picnic blanket flapping away.  After we ate, they played some more-I guess my kids don’t need a huge playground they just need a grassy field and a little ball.

Just about 15 minutes away was my Ikea!  The kids of course wanted to go to the play place but we really didn’t have that much time and the last time at Ikea that we said we had 4 kids to come in, they almost laughed at us.  And when we saw the slew of kids in the play area, we knew we would rather have them with us than in that mob of kids.  Reagan could have shopped with us forever-she kept telling me things that she wanted for her girl bedroom.  I told her about how much money I would need to save up to do the girls bedroom if we bought new beds and another price if we didn’t buy new beds and she gladly volunteered her money-40 dollars.  

The boys and Campbell sat on every single couch/chair/bed that we walked past.  They could have stayed in there forever trying each piece of furniture.  I could have stayed in there forever looking around too but it is not as much fun when I know that I don’t really have room to buy much-I did buy a package of straws (big spender that I am!)  Robby had only one thing that he wanted (a basket to use for his car trash can) and unfortunately they were out.  Fortunately though for me, that means that we will have to try to stop at another Ikea on this trip.

Just across the street was the Mall of America. We made it inside and did not get stuck in the parking garage.  Robby always says that our van clearance is 7 foot and the parking garage clearance was 7 foot.  To me I would think going into the parking garage would not be a good idea but before I could object, we were driving under the hangy down clearance sign and I was standing in my car door to see if we bumped it.  We didn’t so away we went and found the perfect parking spot-could not have been any closer to the door.

We didn’t look around at all-we didn’t stop at the Lego store or even the American Girl store (I even had gift cards to there with me).  We had one main goal and that was to ride the rides!  The kids so remember going there 2 years ago and they talk and talk about it like it was the best thing ever.  So tonight was about riding rides and we were successful at that.  

I kept up with the amount of rides that we rode.  I didn’t do this for the blog; I did it because I wanted to see how much we had to pay a ride.  We had one free all day pass because Robby signed up for the rewards program (Graham), we bought two toddler tickets for Toddler Tuesday Day (Keaton and Campbell) and bought 2 after 5 PM tickets (Reagan and Anderson).  And Robby and I rode a few rides with the kids when they were too short to go on them by themselves.  The grand total of rides was well over 120 by us Dennies.  That made each ride a bit over 60 cents a ride-not too bad at all.  

The kids rode just about every single thing there-big bumper cars, little bumper cars, log ride, shooting the ghost ride, up and down rides and even a bouncy house.  Reagan and Anderson even rode a crazy high Ninja Turtle ride and them and Graham loved the roller coasters (one of us had to accompany Graham on those.  The last one, I could only ride 2 times without getting sick, but Reagan and Anderson rode it at least 5 times and Anderson did end up feeling sick after that).  All Keaton wanted to do was ride the “ponies” (carousel) and she was able to ride twice.  Campbell liked everything and especially anything that was fast.  And my favorite was when all 5 of my riders were on this up and down bouncy thing.  I have a picture in my kitchen of 4 of them on that ride and the picture frame says “this is life lived to the fullest.”  So hopefully, we got a shot of them on that ride this year so that I can update my frame.  

We rode and rode and rode and rode and didn’t stop until 10.  We didn’t stop to look in the stores and we didn’t stop to potty and we didn’t stop for supper.  That meant that at 10:01 we headed right to potty and then to the car.  Our hotel wasn’t too far away so we were soon in our room-after sneaking in the side door.  There was no cart, the side door of the hotel was just to exit and we were only supposed to have 2 adults and 2 kids in this room so yep, coming in was a bit crazy.  But soon we had Whitman in the bathroom sleeping and everything put up.  The kids ate almost 2 bags of tiny cinnamon rolls that we bought at Ikea before brushing their teeth nd heading to sleep.

Our Whitman has been cracking us up today-still calling out “slug bug” in the car.  But today, sweet Reagan had taken some smartees to hand to him when he was fussing.  He remembered those throughout the day and would often reach towards her pocket wanting more.  At the Mall of America, the kids took off their shoes to jump in the bouncy and a minute later, he was handing me his shoe.  And tonight before we put him to bed, he kept going in the bathroom looking for his toothbrush.

Now for my Anderson...for a few days, he has been saying that his ear hurt.  We would ask him where wondering if it was an ear infection.  He would say the outside of it and I just assumed (wrongly) that he had slept on it wrong.  He had no cold so we just kind of let it go.  The other night Anderson didn’t sleep well-he tossed and turned and moaned and groaned and at times I thought he was crying.  I would wake him up and he would say that was nothing was wrong-he was only mad at me for waking him up.  The next morning his ear was nasty-like his ear drum had burst and the fluid was draining.  He told us it felt better so we did wait a day or two before contacting our medical professional friends.  It is still draining nastily but this morning he seemed to feel just fine and was going strong.  We have been having to wipe his ear which he abhors since he hates anything cold (we mostly use a wipey since that is what we have easy access to).  Tonight he kind of acted like it was bothering him (or maybe it was the 5 times he rode that last roller coaster!)  At the hotel, Robby cleaned his ear really well and we dosed him up with tylenol and he is back to his old self.  The medicine is called in to the Walgreens across the street to where we are staying tonight so Robby will run over there when they open in the morning.  We told Anderson that we would have medicine for him in the morning and he looked at us puzzled and asked “what for?”-guess not knowing what you need medicine for is a good thing.    

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