The first day of our drive home was very grey and rainy. We had found a few interesting things to do along the drive to Minneapolis, primarily around Fargo, ND, but they were all outside and it was raining so much that we skipped them all. We did drive through the town of Valley City, North Dakota, which is known for its many bridges. This train bridge was considered so important for transporting goods during World War II that it was actually guarded by soldiers against terrorism.
We spent the night at a hotel in Minneapolis right near the Mall of America. The hotel had a swimming pool, so we let the girls swim for a while in the morning. Interestingly, it was a salt water pool. Amelia let Ben throw her up high so she could splash down in the pool, which is something she had never wanted to try before.
Because we were so close, I said we should go eat lunch at the Mall of America, because it would have a lot of choices for fast food. When we walked in, we saw the American Girl store right in front of us, so Mom and I took the girls to look around while the boys went to the Lego store. Mom bought the girls each an outfit, for Amelia's doll Caroline and for Megan's doll that she is going to get for Christmas but doesn't know about yet. After MUCH deliberation, Amelia chose Caroline's Christmas outfit which is purple and comes with a braided hair headband, purple shoes and long white gloves because she knew Caroline was being retired and she would never have another chance to get one of Caroline's own outfits. Megan chose Rebecca's movie star dress, which is pink with flowers and comes with a lovely pink hat. Thanks for letting the girls choose outfits, Mom, what a special treat that was for them! Then we met the boys in the Lego store, where Dad had to show us his favorite 5000 piece kits. The girls loved all the huge creations made out of Legos.
Finally, we stopped at Crystal Cave in Wisconsin. It was a fun little tour; the cave doesn't have any spectacular formations, but it did have lots of tiny stalactites:
And then, two hours later, we got home. I made a quick dinner of chicken nuggets for the kids and orange chicken for the adults, then we put the kids to bed, got the car unpacked, and went to bed ourselves. We had a fantastic trip, and it was so nice to be able to share it with Mom and Dad! Thanks for coming with us! We all loved having you along!