Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring Break in "Minneus-apolis"


We visited another city that is new to us, as recent mid-westerners. Des Moines may seem isolated and distant from a lot of things--like both the east and west coasts (and consequently any beach), not to mention most of our family. But we are only 3-5 hours from several interesting mid-western cities, and we're trying to take advantage of that.
 
So during Spring Break last month, we drove 250 miles north to what Ansley named, "Minneus-apolis." We stayed for a few days, and found lots of things to fill our time.






















Our first stop was the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, to visit the free art museum housed there. We were impressed. There were a wide variety of exhibits--including some very funky things to liven up the experience--and some great originals by legendary artists. We had a good time.





















 
















We like to incorporate cultural experiences into our lives and our trips when we can, to build up tolerance in our kids for this type of thing. They did well, but after a few hours of looking at art...it was clear they were done.

























The next day we hit the Science Museum (free with our local museum's member reciprocal program) and the Como Park Zoo (also free--love that).
                                                                                                     

We liked so many exhibits--the staircase where each step was a note on the musical scale, as well as a fun presentation about optical illusions, and it was interesting to learn about the headwaters of the great Mississippi River being in the Minneapolis area.

Lots of cool stuff. But our little brood became fascinated with a display where kids could role play as newscasters. There were teleprompters scrolling scientific stories that you read as your image was projected onto a TV screen. Pretty cool. They all loved it, but no one enjoyed watching themselves on screen like Tessa did. She is our little performer. She did this over and over, and after we left that area it was all she could talk about, and she begged to go back...two more times. It was pretty cute to watch her animated face and hand gestures as she "reported" on the various stories.














The zoo was super fun, too. We spent the most time watching the adorable orangutans and the playful polar bears.




















Hard to tell, but there is a cougar lying in the rock cave behind Tyler. Love those cougs...



Of course we spent some time at the hotel--playing in the pool and hot tub...and lounging on the AC unit...?



And our last day was reserved for the Mall of America. We felt obligated to check it out, this Minneapolis landmark, and it is...gigantic--unlike any mall you've ever seen. We aren't much into shopping, but we did make sure to go to H&M (I have missed that), the Swatch store for Tom, the LEGO Store, and the American Girl Store. The latter happens to be situated right outside the Nickelodeon Amusement Park that is also inside the mall. The large windows made it pretty hard for the boys to be interested in all those dolls.










































We decided to indulge everyone in a few rides, and they all had a blast. There were thrilling, big-kid rides, as well as tame, little-kid rides--something for every age. The facial expressions say it all.
 




















It was a successful trip. We got to check out new territory, do tons of fun things, and most importantly spend uninterrupted quality family time together. That is my favorite part about getaways like this. The distractions of everyday life are removed so we can just focus on each other and having fun together. I think Ansley sensed how precious that is, and didn't want to return to normal life...because she cried when we pulled into our driveway that she didn't want to go back to Iowa. I get that. It's always hard to come back from vacation. But at least we have the memories.

Oh, and if you're wondering...yes, that is a pacifier in Ansley's mouth in several of the photos. We get even lazier about restricting it when we're away from home. I know, shame on me...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Because of the wonderful things he does...

"Look what I have, Mom..."


It's the "Lizard of Oz!"


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Baby bump sighting



I was going through pictures and came across this one that was taken by Eden, I think...while she was playing with my phone at Target one day. I almost just deleted it, then I realized I liked something about it. Maybe how it is so candid...like a paparazzi snapshot where the subjects are totally unaware and un-posed.

It's also nice that I look decent (which doesn't always happen to us non-photogenic sort :), and I definitely look pregnant. I mean, of course I would at 30 weeks...but sometimes I get tired of people telling me I look so small for how far along I am. I mean, sure it's great to look small everywhere else (which is not what they are saying), but I want my belly...to look pregnant! not just thick. I love being pregnant, and I like to look the part.

I know I should be grateful I don't get a huge abdomen during pregnancy; I'm sure it saves me plenty of backache and stretchmarks, but still...if you're going to be pregnant, then look pregnant, right? And I do, at least the last number of months before delivery. It's fun. :)

Okay, enough rambling about a random, fuzzy, prego picture.