We stayed in downtown Minneapolis the first two nights. After we checked in on Saturday, we went for a walk on Nicollet Avenue, which is the main downtown strip. As mentioned yesterday, I had remembered downtown Minneapolis a tiny bit different. I was thinking more Chicago and less Winnipeg. I don’t scare easily, but being unfamiliar with an area always makes me feel a bit guarded, and it didn’t help that we walked by a few gang-like groups of youth. When we walked through one group, we were treated to a full-on marijuana experience. We walked through it again and again until we were feeling awesome. Not really. The police happened to slowly drive by right then and the group quickly dispersed. Then the cruiser pulled over just down the block and arrested a man right in front of us. The man was not happy about this; he swore a blue streak at the police as they handcuffed him. The kids were a little traumatized about that, but what seemed to affect them even more was all the people they saw smoking. When we got back to the hotel, Neve looked at me with eyes as big as saucers and whispered to me, “Should you have brought me here??” Spencer was also worried about the situation and expressed some concern about spending the night in our hotel. I told him there was nothing to worry about; there’s a doorman in the lobby and it was safe. Neve said, “I’m going to get up in the night and peek out our door at the doorman.” After some questioning, it turns out she thought there would be a guard stationed right outside our door. But it was all fine, although I did have to call the front desk at 3 a.m. because of very loud angry yelling in the hallway that continued on at great length. Fortunately the kids slept through it.
On Sunday, Chloe and I went for a run through a gorgeous old neighbourhood and around a lake. The rest of the day we swam, walked, shopped, rode the light rail a few stops (or whatever their public transit train is called), and watched TV. We had brunch at a cute little crepe place and finally found a restaurant suitable for children for dinner. I also read a couple of books while we were away, plus I started reading Anne of Green Gables aloud, which everyone enjoyed (and continues to enjoy) despite a lot of initial complaining from the boy.
Chloe and her shoe obsession (and no, she didn't buy these)
On Monday, we packed up and headed over to the Mall of America area. We stayed at the Radisson, which has a big indoor waterpark. That’s where we were from 4:00 until bedtime, and again the next morning until checkout. The kids had so much fun on the waterslides and everything else. Neve couldn’t be convinced to go on the big waterslides, so she mostly stayed on the water play structure. Spencer loved having the run of the place and ran around on his own pretty much the whole time. It’s amazing we found him at the end of the day.
Oh yeah, there was an arcade in the hotel too. That place really was a kid's dream.
The next day we did some shopping and then started driving. We spent the night at an interesting hotel in Fargo. Interesting, as in ‘I’m not even going to check for bedbugs because I’m pretty sure I’ll find some.’ Hotwire makes things exciting. It actually ended up being okay and the kids loved the pool. After a stop in Grand Forks the next day, we got home Wednesday night. I’m not sure anyone was really looking for a day-by-day account of our trip, but there you have it. It’s a very diluted, rosy account – I left out the parts where Spencer complained about shopping, how itchy the kids were after being immersed in chlorine for four days, how Spencer kind of threw up in the night, how much TV was watched, and how much I longed to have some time to myself. But overall, we all had a great time and found it hard to go home. The rest of the week has been relaxing and unstructured and lazy, except for Chloe’s birthday party. One more full day of spring break remains; the weather’s supposed to be nice, so I hope to enjoy every minute. Hope everyone else had a happy little break too.
At the Lego store. Neve bought a "Friends" Lego set with her own money and did a great job putting it together all on her own when we got home. Move over, Spencer - there's a new Lego freak in town.
Passing time on the drive - tongue tattoos and teaching the kids to blow bubbles. I recently realized the younger two had no idea how to blow bubblegum bubbles (I hate gum, so the kids never have any). I could have probably taught them something more intelligent like needlepoint or logic problems, but the bubble blowing was a big success.