Two days and counting...Time to say goodbye...Tomorrow, final expenses for six weeks in Minnesota...


Miles, Madighan, Maisie, Camille,, and Greg in front of our hotel yesterday.
The 4th of July was a good day for us although we spent little time engaged in the usual activities.  As we wound down our last few days before leaving Minnesota, our priorities revolve around spending quality time together.

Yesterday morning, son Greg, daughter-in-law Camille, Maisie, Miles, and Madighan arrived at our hotel in time for the complimentary buffet breakfast.  When we booked this hotel, Country Inn & Suites in Plymouth, we included a total of five of us in the reservation.
The Port of Excelsior, our former downtown.
In doing so, we'd be able to have any of our six grandchildren come for breakfast at no extra charge and swim in one of the two indoor swimming pools. This idea proved to be ideal when at one point or another any of our three families visited us; Tom's son TJ's family of four, Tom's daughter Tammy's family of three and my son Greg's family of five.

In checking with the kindly hotel general manager, since more mornings than not, it was just Tom and me for breakfast, there was no additional charge when any of our family members came for the breakfast and/or pool time.  Also, based on our long-term six-week stay, this wasn't an issue. 
 Miles, Madighan (front), with me, Maisie, Camille, and Greg.
After all, most guests check in and back out after about three days.  We have surely been the exception with this long term stay.  We'll be preparing a more comprehensive review on our last day, Friday, when we'll leave to fly to Las Vegas, Nevada for the next leg in our US visit, the first in almost five years.
This is where I took Willie for his haircuts.
The three families were with us in Hawaii at Christmas/New Year 2014/2015 but now as we head to Nevada, we won't have seen son Richard and my sister Susan since Christmas 2012, a very long time. 

Of course, I'm excited to get to Nevada although we've stayed in close touch over these last almost five years through Skype and Facebook's Messenger, an easy to use "text" type communication medium.
There are many quaint shops in Excelsior.
Now, we continue saying goodbye after yesterday's day with Greg's family which ended up with us coming to dinner for a fabulous meal of grilled steaks, skewered veggies, and salad. 

Not only did we enjoy the home cooked meal but after the meal ended we loved hanging outside near the bonfire with Camille, Greg, and the three kids.  Before dark, we decided to head back to our hotel, knowing it was time to say goodbye. 
Upscale clothing store.
The next few days would be spent saying goodbye to all of our other family members including Tom's siblings on Thursday night when we attend the usual barbecue at his sister Mary's home. 

Today, Tom will pick up Vincent and he'll spend the afternoon and evening with us.  At 8:00 pm we'll meet Tammy for dinner for a restaurant and say our goodbyes.  On Thursday evening. after we leave the barbecue, we'll stop at TJ's home to say goodbye to TJ, Sarah, Nik, and Jayden.
Many of the storefronts in downtown Excelsior had changed over the years.
Saying goodbye isn't easy.  It wasn't when we left on Halloween 2012 and it's not easy now.  But, our hearts are filled with love that will carry us through for the next few years until we return in 2019 for another visit.  In the interim, we'll all stay in touch.
Leopold's is an interesting hardware type of store with parts for literally all household goods.
If it weren't for the magic of the Internet, such a long time away could be heartbreaking.  Able to see their faces on Skype, their photos, and experiences on Facebook and have conversations online, all makes it considerably easier than it would have been long before technology facilitated the ease of staying in touch.

Tomorrow, we'll be back with our final expenses for the six weeks we spent in Minnesota and on Friday, our travel day, we'll include a post with a review of the hotel and any notes on our final goodbyes. 
Not so good photo as we whizzed past the Dock Cinema where my sons and I often attended movies when they were young.
Thanks to all of our readers for bearing with us through this intense family time.  It's odd that I ever assumed we'd be able to "entertain" our readers with peripheral topics as opposed to our continual family time.  What was I thinking? It all became way more important than photo taking and sightseeing.  In a mere 26 days, we'll certainly be back to THAT! 
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Photo from one year ago today, July 5, 2016:
This claw foot tub is just what I needed for soaking when we arrived at the five-star hotel, the Sofitel Legend Metropole, located in Hanoi where we stayed for five nights before the Mekong River Cruise.  For more details and photos, please click here.

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