family fun days, day #1

Well hello again! It's me, Alden! I have much to share from the two packed days my family kept calling Family Fun Days. They have been on the calendar for a while and greatly anticipated by everyone. You will simply be amazed at how much Mom and Dad decided to pack into these two days. In fact, they would probably say it was a leeetle bit too much. But all in the name of family fun. First, we went to the Minnesota Zoo.
Did you know this is my mom's favorite part of the whole zoo? It's just this little exhibit in Discovery Bay where they have the sea horses, jelly fish, twig fish and things that don't even look like they're alive, but they are. She freaks out about the twig fish every time. Have you seen those before? They're incredible!
Then we walked the tropics trail. Hattie seemed to be very taken by the flamingos and ducks. She just loved watching them down in the water. Dad told us we are going to order a few ducklings with our baby chick order this year, which should be a good time. Ivar asked why we would get ducks and Dad said, "to eat!" So that's exciting.
We spent a lot of time watching the fish, and even saw the scuba guy feeding the fish. I just couldn't believe the different designs on each fish. It looked like a group of children had taken turns coloring each one, some with polka dots, some with stripes, some with both. Mom got inspired for an art project with the big kids...
Then we ate a lunch Mom packed. We were trying to do this trip on a budget and this was a great way to save money, though no one was actually hungry for their sandwiches because a big bag of chips had been consumed on the tropics trail...
And now this is so fun. It turns out my dad is really great at stir stick sculptures! No one knew of this special gift! He just whipped these fancy things up and wowed the whole family. (As well as the lady who was waiting to dump her tray into the trash while we took this picture.)
And then we got to the hotel. We stayed at the Country Inn and Suites across from the Mall of America, right across from the Radisson Blu. It was so great! We loved this place! We got an early check in and Dad took the big kids swimming, while Mom tried to put me and Hattie down for naps. And let's be honest, Dad definitely got the better gig, because Hattie and I were like, "wha? you want us to just lay down in this new room? Lady, you crazy." But mom is really persistent. And I do love a good nap, so eventually, I just gave in. Hattie took a little more convincing, but Dad came back and was able to get her to settle down too. Then we woke up and it was time to head to the Mall! Hattie was sort of crabby, so she got a cookie. But I was just so thrilled!
We walked across the parking lot, across the frontage road, up the elevator to the sky way, through a parking garage, by the Blu, through another parking garage and right into Lego Land (with a quick detour to the Local Honey shop..which nearly killed my brother Ivar...)
But then Ivar and Elsie got right down to business. This destination had been discussed at length, what they were going to purchase, what they were going to build. My brother Ivar has just been introduced to Stop Motion Animation and is super into writing scenes for his legos.
And while everyone played with Legos, I worked on my stretches and tried to increase my overall flexibility.
Then we were off to the rides. Elsie chose to go on the Carousel with mom, and really wanted the white horse with the roses.
And Ivar chose to go on the roller coaster for his ride. I don't think he had thought through the whole thing fully. Dad said he was laughing and hooting for the first part and then the ride got very intense and he looked over and Ivar was completely still. Dad said, "are you okay?" And Ivar said, "too. much."
But then it settled down again and by the time the ride ended Ivar said he loved it and gave Mom a long, tight hug to prove it.
We went and ate at the food court, followed by dippin' dots and then went back to the hotel so the whole family could swim. I just stayed in the stroller and kept working on my flexibility, but Hattie hung out on the stairs and Mom played with Ivar and Elsie, but mostly a 5-year-old whose grandpa was talking to my dad about karate. Her name was Ellie and she'd jump into the pool, right by Mom, and pop up to blurt, "I can't swim!" So mom would help her to the wall, where she'd monkey around to the ladder and position herself wherever Mom was, jump back in, pop up and yell again, "I can't swim!" Over and over and over. It was kind of a riot, and kind of patience-inducing.

Needless to say we all went to bed pretty easily that night. We were tuckered! And we had to get our sleep for another full day of family fun ahead...

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