Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Graduation Road Trip 2014

My cousin graduated from college in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  My boys adore him.  I knew it would not be possible for all of us to fly, but that was a different story.  I pitched the idea to several of my family members and the final decision was that Aunt Janice, Mun, me and my boys would all ride together, picking up my Uncle Jim at the halfway point.  This was such a big occasion that we had shirts made...
 I affectionately names the trip the RT squared since it was the Richard Thomason Road Trip.  We left Memphis a little before 7:00 am Thursday morning and joined Mun and Janice.  After a quick stop at Target, Burger King and the house (whoops, forgot something!!) we headed out.  We colored, slept, read books and talked for our 8 hour drive.  We arrived in Eureka, Illinois (our halfway point) just in time for dinner, having only stopped two times.  One of those times was for lunch and one was for gas.  My kids are hands down the best travelers ever.  I don't say that in a prideful way, it just is what it is.
 We spent the night in Eureka and then loaded up the next morning for Minneapolis.  We did much of the same the next day, we just added an extra person and ice cream from Culver's.  Both of these are very important details.

We arrived in Minneapolis in time for a dinner of pizza at the indoor pool at our hotel.
While we were in the car I researched several places that might be of interest, including a cupcake shop.  When we started getting close to Minneapolis Janice asked me to navigate us to the hotel.  Having not even been to Minneapolis before none of us recognized what we were doing.  We starting getting closer and closer to our destination and I realized I had put in the address for a Cupcake shop.  Yep, we arrived at the cupcake shop instead of the hotel.  Whoops.  We were 20 minutes away from the hotel and because of time restraints we were not even able to stop for a cupcake.  Oh well...

Good morning Minneapolis!

 Since my crew wakes up so early and so hungry we hit the hotel restaurant.  It was pretty fancy.  In fact, Andrew walked up to the table, pointed to the cloth napkin and said, "What's that, mom?!?"  We (and by this I mean me and Jack )had a conversation in the room about being on our best behavior and not eating like an animal, etc.  All in all we made it through breakfast without incident.  Andrew had a Mickey Mouse pancake.  He was thrilled!  Clayton had some kind of continental breakfast and Jack had French toast.  Everyone was pleased, which for a mom of three boys is a major accomplishment.

 After breakfast we rode the train into Minneapolis with Mimi and Tee and somehow ended up at the Mall of America.  Good times!  Clayton was in awe of the Lego store.  I think he could have stayed there all day.  We were only able to stay about 30 minutes, but no fear we spent all day Sunday there.
Before heading to graduation we ran in to the graduate in the hall.  I cannot express enough how much my boys love this guy.  What a treat!
We walked over the graduation at the convention center.  It was a really big room, but we had good seats.  After a 30 minute delay (because the graduates weren't there...ha!!) the ceremony commenced.  They literally called names for an hour.  I stood ready to get a picture.  As soon as Richard walked across the stage I snapped the picture, but apparently sometime during that hour I had turned off my camera.  Whoops.  I did get this on though.
 After the ceremony we took 15,000 pictures.  Here's one of the graduate.
 The Thomason family at its finest...ha!!
 And the entire support crew...

After graduation we headed to a lovely dinner at McCormick and Schmick's.  Again, the boys and I had a similar conversation about being on our best behavior.  They did pretty good.  We closed out the evening with a swim in the indoor pool with the graduate.

Sunday morning we headed out early for the Mall of America.  They have an amusement park inside and we rode just about every ride.  We were there from the time they opened until the time they closed.  The boys had a blast.  Mimi, Tee, Mun, Janice and Jim joined us at the park.  It takes a village to wrangle these boys people.

 Andrew created this at the Lego store.  He said, "Look mom, I made the city.  There's our hotel."  (The hotel is the yellow and green building.)
That night everyone slept well.  This little fella was asleep in 1.2 seconds.
We woke up the next morning, had breakfast and headed out for day one of travel.  Our two days of traveling home were pretty uneventful.  We ate, slept, read, visited, and laughed.  We made great time on the way home and pretty much did the opposite of what we did on the way there.  We got back to Memphis last night around 8:00 pm.  I was happy to see my favorite fella!  I cannot begin to tell you what a great time we had!  I hope all road trips are this fun with them as they grow up!  Memories were made that will last a life time!  I'd go again tomorrow!

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