Saturday, November 20, 2010

Macy's Most Excellent Mall of America Birthday Trip

It's a little known fact (although I've told enough people lately so maybe it's more well known than I realize) that when you turn 10 in our family, you can either have a big party at some crazy place like Bounce U or you can go on a trip. It started with Ben and a trip to New York for his 10th birthday.

Macy's not much of a big fan of crowds and busy streets, so she decided she would like to try and go to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. It's not that Macy's a big shopper or anything, but the kids have often talked about visiting America's Largest mall (well technically it's actually the second largest if you only count total square footage). Trent squeezed in a nice little business trip to London a few months before we needed to go which gave him enough airline points for two $10.00 airplane tickets and we were off.

Here's Macy on the Metro ready to start her most excellent adventure. Please note the book. Lots of reading on this trip!

Waiting at the airport. Very excited. Me, not so much. I bought Macy a new duffel bag with wheels for this trip. I failed to take the carry on luggage measurement requirements with me when we purchased the bag and so when we arrived at the airport we discovered it was 2" too long. We had to check it which meant we had to add $25.00 to our ticket. Ugh. I could have used a bag I had at home for free that would have worked (although I would have had to carry it instead of wheeling it).
We were able to check it for the low, low price of $23.00 on the way home because I checked it on-line the night before. I am all about the deep discounts I tell you. Well now we have a nice duffel bag on wheels for things like girl scout campouts and such. At least that's what I keep telling myself between slapping my head and saying "Doh!" Moving on . . .

On the airplane, ready to take off! Me, not so much.

Visiting the Lincoln Memorial. Did you know it's actually not in Washington, DC, but at the Chicaco O'Hare airport? It's true! Okay, the Lincoln Memorial is really in Washington, DC, but this replica is in the Chicago O'Hare airport. Macy has never seen the real one in Washington, DC. Maybe she'll get to someday if she's lucky.

Having a vanilla bean frappuccino (hold the whipped cream) while we wait for our flight to Minneapolis. When Macy was really little, like 2, one day at the mall she said to me, "Mommy, can I have a frappuccino?" A person in front of us stopped and turned around, looked at Macy and said, "That little one is too little to be asking for a frappuccino." She probably was, but hey they're good. Well I used to think so, but I kind of got burned out on them. I did enjoy a nice large caramel apple rolled in chocolate chips while we waited though. I'm all about the healthy snacks.

We arrived safe and sound in Minneapolis and a short shuttle ride and a short walk to the mall later and there we were. We had a yummy dinner with the fish at the Rainforest Cafe.

Macy made a souvenir penny. We were big spenders I tell you.

The next morning we woke up very early because of the time difference and had a lot of time to kill before the mall opened. I had this great idea to ride the light rail train to downtown Minneapolis because I thought it would be fun. It wasn't. It was boring. It was really boring. It was so boring it was painful. Macy was a good sport though and we got to see Target field which was impressive.

The world's most boring light rail train ride finally ended, the mall was now open and we spent most of the day playing at Nickelodeon Universe. We rode on a few rides, had a yummy lunch at Famous Dave's, shopped a bit and then rode some more rides. It was a fun day. The amusement park was nice and it wasn't crowded despite the day being a holiday. We finished off the night with a yummy dinner at Outback Steakhouse (at our hotel) and a very cold dip in the pool.

The next day we were back for more fun. Macy brought along Kit who (whom?) she purchased the first night we arrived at the mall. Macy has been volunteering for medical research and getting paid the big bucks. She's also been saving for a long time to get her Kit doll. She was very excited.

For Macy's birthday she wanted to have lunch with Kit at the American Girl Cafe. It was a lot of fun!

Kit enjoyed herself too. She especially liked the lemonade, french fries and whipped dessert with sprinkles. Kit's all about the sprinkles.

We spent the day shopping for souvenirs to take home, eating frozen yogurt and playing miniature golf. By the end of the day we were tired and ready to go home.

Alas, traveling with me, when flying is involved, is never an easy thing. I can count on one hand the times I've been able to fly somewhere without some kind of mishap-lost luggage, late/cancelled flight, etc. happening. I was hoping this trip would be different, but when we woke up the day we were to leave, 2-3 inches of snow had fallen overnight with about 5-7" more on the way.

"Don't worry!" I told Macy, "We're in Minnesota where they laugh at 8-10" inches of snow."

Three hours after our original flight was supposed to take off, the snow and wind finally died down and we were able to leave. Apparently they don't laugh at snow after all.

Here's Macy pouting because we really are going back home where we only have the 11th largest mall in the United States.

Not really, she was excited to get back home after such a long wait at the airport!

Here she is on the final metro ride home. We managed to forget our carry on while getting a quick bite to eat after deplaning. After much begging and pleading with the TSA agents (who refused to let us go back and get our suitcase), one took pity on us and went back to retrieve the suitcase. Macy had a scare on one of the escalators, but lived to tell the tale. Unfortunately she must have done something to her ankle because the next morning when she went to get out of bed, she couldn't walk and her ankle was swollen. Turns out she sprained her ankle and had to miss 4 more days of school.

She's on crutches now and can't participate in P.E. until next month. Unfortunately she didn't get to go to school on her actual 10th birthday but had to spend it at the orthopedist. I'm sure it was a toss up which was more fun-visiting the Mall of America or going to the orthopedist. On a disappointing note, it turns out that the Mall of America is not the largest mall in America if you count square footage. It does have more stores than the King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania though and I don't think the King of Prussia mall has an indoor amusement park or aquarium. An aquarium? Yes the Mall of America has one of those, but we didn't go because we were going to visit the Baltimore Aquarium a week later, but that trip is for another post. :)