Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Little Bit Of Minnesota, Right Here In Michigan

We had some special visitors from Minnesota over the weekend and it was a delight.  Grandma and Grandpa Knoll came to Michigan for an early Christmas celebration.  

We started the festivities with dinner at a local favorite and then headed to Target, which Lilly calls "Happy," because the bulls eye logo looks similar to a large red happy face she has.  Matt thinks I taught her to call Target Happy, but I can't take credit, although who doesn't get a little Happy when they are there.  Lilly got to spend at least an hour in the toy section with Grandma and Grandpa and she had a blast, I am sure that is the longest time she has ever been shopping for toys.  Usually we just browse the clearance end caps.  Needless, to say she gave Grandma and Grandpa some great ideas for gifts.

 The holiday festivities continued when we visited the Fredrick Meijer Gardens to enjoy their Christmas Tress from Around the World.  The trees are all decorated beautifully and the traditions and history for each country is very interesting.  Lillian, loves a beautifully decorated tree and constantly exclaimed WOW.  Her favorite part by far was the train garden they have set up for the season.  The trains run through multiple conservatories and steam past local landmarks from the Grand Rapids area.  The trains run overhead and under bridges and basically everywhere you look.  Lilly was treated to something only few children get to experience, because of her 6'5" grandpa she got a bird's eye view of the trains as they ran overhead.  To her delight she he was happy to spend a very long time holding her up.

The last day of the visit we spent at the hotel swimming.  We had heard great things about the Holiday Inn Express that has a splash pad and water slide.  Although, the actual experience was not up to cleanliness standards or even close to the recommendations, Lilly had a great time.  The splash pad if maintained properly was the perfect depth for her to swim and the baby slide was a lot of fun.  It is such a great idea and so close to home, I hope things improve for the possibility of a future visit.

It is always hard to say goodbye after such a short visit, but we tried to keep things light and we celebrated Christmas as the highlight to the end of the visit.  Lillian received some very thoughtful gifts from her Grandparents and she was thrilled to say "sank you," and give kisses after she opened each one.  She also loved to deliver gifts to and help open them.  Santa even left an early gift for Lilly that she was able to open... he has a policy where he delivers oversize gifts early so as not to weigh down the sleigh too much!