What a couple weeks!  We arrived to find Minnesota completely devoid of snow and with Seattle-like temperatures. Not wanting to disappoint, the weather finally came through with a foot of snow and subfreezing temperatures.  To top things off, a dose of wicked virii provided elevated body temperatures, aches and pains, and a good dose of congestion and coughing.  We spent 4 days in a stupor due to these little villains

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Despite the chill welcome from the environment, the people have been more than warm and compensating.  We have been able to have all sorts of adventures with my Mom, my sister, my 2 brothers, and their spouses and children.  Next week we will be visiting Grandma and Grandpa, Dad, and other family, and having a Christmas get together with extended family

Getting ready for Christmas has been an adventure all on its own. People have asked what they can get us as gifts. Time with family is all we ask or need. Despite years of requests for no gifts, this year it has real weight. We simply can’t physically carry anything with us

That family time has been filled with lots of Christmas preparation. We found and decorated a tree, made (and ate) Christmas cookies, and visited Santa and his elves.

Making Cookies

Making Cookies

Visiting Santa

Visiting Santa

The whole extended family got together for an evening out in the frigid air to watch an illuminated Christmas parade, with Santa Claus himself as the grande finale. Shoulder rides were a source of endless entertainment for 7 excited children

Night Parade

Night Parade

Parade Watching

Parade Watching

Shoulder Rides

Shoulder Rides

We spent an afternoon learning how things work at a children’s museum with a bunch of nieces and nephews. We finished this off by building massive block structures, and then getting all Godzilla on them, before tasting the creamy custardy goodness that is Culver’s.

Team Castle Building

Team Castle Building

The weeks were rounded out with a short visit to people watch at the Church of Conspicuous Consumption (aka The Mall of America), a bit of sledding, some swimming, watching Life of Pi and The Hobbit, and watching the snow fall while sitting next to a warm fire with seasonal lattes in hand.

Sledding

Sledding

Launch to the Moon

Launch to the Moon

Ignoring the flu, everyone appears to be in good health and good spirits. It’s been great to have a slow paced visit.

Retire Early.

Travel the World.

Let's do this.

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