Ian woke up really excited because he knew we were headed to a Christmas town today in Frankenmuth!
The only rough part is, that it's almost 2 hours away. Alli slept for some of the time, and Ian kept himself entertained on the iPad.
It's lunchtime, so our first stop is Zehnder's of Frankenmuth and their cafe.
Heading downstairs to the cafe.
Ian looked around and said, "I want to hear the birdie talk." I guess this setting reminds him of Club 33 in Disneyland.
Love all the Christmas decorations here.
Well after a good experience the last time we were here, it was a bit disappointing today. Despite it being crowded and having to wait for a table at the cafe, the chicken was cold. I ordered a hot dog and fries for the kids and was told to go ahead and sit down and they'd bring it out. After 15 minutes waiting and feeding the kids off our plate, I finally went back to the counter and stood there waiting, and it was ready 5 minutes later.
Let's head to the bakery instead.
What do you want Ian? "A cookie!" Which one? "That one!"
Thanks Uncle Don! It's bigger than his head!
Our next stop is Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, the World's Largest Christmas Store!
Inside there's over 320,000 square feet of show floor.
Wow Alli, it's enormous.
Ian that ornament is bigger than you!
With this many breakable items out, there's only one safe place for Alli.
And just like our last visit when Ian was 1, he and Donald stuck together looking at all sorts of things, with Donald carrying him. First up was the ornaments, and Ian was overwhelmed by the choices. He was told he could pick one ornament. The very first one he saw was a hippo. "I want the hippo ornament." Okay... Then 10 second later. "I want the green ornament." The trend continued until we finally came across an ornament shaped like an ice cream cone with sprinkles on top. After that, he continued saying he wanted more, but when he compared it to the ice cream cone, he always like the ice cream cone better.
Uncle Donald is buying a few more ornaments too. A Big Brother one for Ian. A Little Sister ornament for Alli. And a blue balloon and pink balloon for the kids.
And personalization is free! Of course the ornaments themselves cost $12 each, so you're paying for it somewhere.
The entire story is filled with giant displays like this.
Oh boy. Ian found the candy. "Please may I have a candy cane?"
Theresa was really wanting to find an advent calendar this year but wasn't having much luck. Thankfully at the biggest Christmas store in the world, you're sure to find a few advent calendars.
Perfect! This one is coming home with us!
Checking in with Alli. Still doing good? Good.
Ian noticed that Santa had a teddy bear.
Looking at these snow globes, I told Ian that the penguin was stuck. Ian said that "We should help him." Sweet boy.
Star Wars nutcrackers? Okay...
Not quite life sized, but still a pretty huge elephant. Alli was impressed.
Okay Alli. You've been really good in that baby carrier for a while now. And now that I've found a section of the store where you can't break anything, you're free! She was happy to be out, walking all around this section as I led her in circles.
Marveling at the laser lights moving around on the ground.
Finally after an hour and a half, it was time to check out.
There's one more stop we have to make while we're here in Frankenmuth and that's the Cheese Haus.
Our last visit here, we tried all sorts of delicious aged cheeses, some even as old as 17 years!
Phew, prices have certainly increased in the 2 years since we last came here. Last time we were here, I thought the 17 year old cheese was pricy at $54.99 per pound. This year the oldest cheese they have is a 15 year old Wisconsin Yellow Cheddar for $79.99 per pound!
Just like last time, they gave us samples of everything we asked for. From the 2 year old cheddar, all the way up to the 15 year old cheddar, and half a dozen cheeses in between. Whenever the lady would get a sample ready, Ian would ask "Please may I have a sample?" And once he got his, he'd ask "Alli too?"
Alli though does not care for cheese. Fresh cheese, aged cheese, it doesn't matter. She's not a fan. She did enjoy the tortilla chips they offered to sample their hot sauces with though.
Hmm. I wonder.
After an initial "pull it out of my mouth, what is this thing I'm eating?" she eventually had a chunk of chocolate cheese and even did the baby sign for more.
To go with our cheeses, Donald bought a 6 pack of peach Nehi that was really tasty.
For the rest of the time we were in Michigan, we had a few nights where we enjoyed cheeses, crackers, and meats. Unwrapping the 15 year cheddar I noticed they tagged it on the inside so it would set off the alarm if you tried to walk out with it without paying!
Time for another 1:45 drive back home. T broke off a piece of Ian's peppermint stick for the ride home. I'm amazed by some of the things he comes up with. "It has the colors of the rainbow. But not purple." Yes it does. Good observation Ian!
We ran a little late, but made it for the 2nd half of Austin's game.
And we got to watch Austin play a bit.
And that night, while it didn't snow, it certainly was chilly.
Which made it even better to be inside and sitting in front of a crackling fireplace.