Sunday, June 11, 2017

Iowa Trip

We are so glad we got to go to Iowa last month!!  We stayed at my Uncle Sam and Aunt Linda's house, and the kids had so much fun on the farm!!
Here are some pictures of our adventures:
Saturday:  On the airplane from Phoenix to Minneapolis
Nathaniel and Emily had both been on a plane in 2005 (I was actually a week away from giving birth to Andrew so technically he rode the airplane, too!), but this was the first plane ride for Andrew, Daniel, and Jonathan.
  They thought the takeoff and landing were really cool, and they had fun choosing whatever drink they wanted. 
Uncle Sam and Aunt Linda's house
Emily and I stayed in the room upstairs, and the boys stayed in the bonus room above the garage 
Family get-together on Sunday
So many people came:  Harve, Grandma, Jackie, Adam, Stan, Sierra, Eric, Jenny and her kids, Elisha with her boyfriend Thomas and his daughter Jenny, Karen and Jim came down from St. Paul, Lori and the kids, Lisa and Brian and their kids, Brooke and Erik and their kids.  Grandma was so happy to see us; the kids hadn't been there since 2011.  The kids had a great time getting to know their second cousins.  I loved how Sierra got everyone together to introduce themselves.  They played hide and seek and played with the kitties in the barn.  They also played corn hole.  Ben came later, and he took all the kids on 4-wheeler rides.
Getting ready to play hide-and-seek 

Jenny's little girl, Rosie

Uncle Jim, Karen, and Grandma


Jonny with Jenny, Thomas' daughter


Daniel showing the kitty to Grandma

Corn hole

4-wheeler rides!
Monday was Memorial Day, so we went to the ceremony at the St. Ansgar Cemetery.  Linda came with us.   It was a very nice ceremony at the cemetery, and they read Grandpa's name.  We saw Brooke and her kids there.  After the cemetery, we stopped at the Veterans memorial (Grandpa is on that, too!), then the Lutheran Cemetery, Casey’s for a bathroom stop, and then to Grandma’s for a bit.  The kids rode around the farm on the golf cart.  We went to the ribeye sandwich lunch at the Legion.  The kids loved it—it was so good, especially the desserts!  On the way back to Sam and Linda’s we drove by the wind mill that is on their land.  The kids played with Adri and Evan and Lindsay at Linda’s.  The bigger kids played cards together.  Jonny and Evan had fun playing with water in the sandbox.  Later, Claire and Jonny played with kitties.  Linda made us yummy sloppy joes for dinner.  Chase, Claire, and Cullen stayed the night at Sam and Linda's, too. 

Tuesday:  The kids played with kitties in the morning.  Linda and I sat in the driveway and watched the kids play.  Andrew got to drive the 4-wheeler by himself.  After lunch, the kids and I went back to Grandma’s.  Jonny wasn’t happy about it and kept asking to go “home,” aka Sam and Linda’s farm, to play with the kitties.  Next we went to Mason City to have dinner with Freeses.  Grandpa and Grandma Freese, Richard, Debbie, Robert, Leah, and their kids Owen and Eli were all there.  On the way back, we went to HyVee to pick up fruit and find Sweetleaf products.

Wednesday:  The kids played around farm again in the morning.  Stan had called and planned to go to Grandma’s so he could see us again.  When it was time to leave, we couldn’t find Andrew.  We called for him and looked all around the house.  Finally, we found him out in the field with Uncle Sam.  We went to Grandma’s where Stan was planting corn and the kids helped with the planting.  We left around four and drove to Riceville to see Rose and Merrill at the County Line Locker.  After that, we drove to Osage to visit my Great Aunt Lorraine.  She has helped me a lot with family history.  Afterwards we went to the ball fields in Osage to see Chase’s game.  Then we went to dinner at the drive-in and got to see Vanessa.  The food was awesome, especially my pork tenderloin! Lucas came with us; he and Jonny got along well.

Thursday: Linda had planned to go to a class that afternoon, but they cancelled the class so she had to go instead early that morning.  We got up and packed and left by 9:30am.  Emily was a huge help, as was Nathaniel.  We drove to St. Ansgar and dropped off Lucas at home and then went to Grandma’s.  Stan came over again.  Grandma talked a lot about her history.  The kids played the Wheel of Fortune game they had found.  We met Linda and Brooke for lunch at Paradise Pizza, and I had the pork tenderloin again.  I was hard to say goodbye to everyone.  Before we left town, we stopped by the cemetery one last time.   

On the way to the airport, we headed to Hernke Dairy to see where Ben works.  He taught us some things about the farm and took us on a tour, and then he got a call that a cow was having trouble giving birth so we got to go watch.  Daniel didn’t want to see but the rest of us did. 

This was the calf that we saw being born.  It's a girl!  Ben says her mama will lick her clean until she looks like the baby on the left.

They have 500 cows in this barn, plus 250 more in another! Then there are the babies, too. It was very educational to see how they manage it all!

We made it to the Mall of America by about 5pm.  First, we went to Nickelodeon Universe. We bought enough tickets for each of the kids to ride three times (except for Jonny who said he didn’t want to ride anything but he went on a roller coaster).  There should have been enough for two rides for Jonny, but we somehow got cheated out of a ride.  We’re still not sure what happened.  After the rides we stopped into the Lego store and then bought treats at the Nestle ice cream store.  We decided to save our treats for the plane and went to the food court for dinner. 

After dinner, we had to get gas and get to the airport.  I knew exactly where the gas station was, but the road zigzagged and I missed the turn and I couldn’t turn around.  I made the mistake of trusting the GPS, which took us to the airport parking garage!  I finally got us out of there and to a different gas station.  I was so frustrated!  While I was pumping gas, I saw this white BMW pull up and it was blasting some rap music.  I looked at the driver and it was a middle-aged white guy, who looked a little bit like my dad!  We had a good laugh over that and headed back to the airport.  Now all we had to do was find the car rental return, but the sign was covered and the sun was shining in our faces so we missed the turn and had to go all the way around again.  Ugh!  Andrew had the best comment: “And this is why you get to the airport early!”  Yes, son, it is! We had planned ahead, luckily, so we were just fine.  We got through security and got to our gate in plenty of time.  It was a good flight home.  The kids loved the TV screens in the seats where they could watch whatever they wanted.  The flight to Minneapolis didn’t have that, so the kids were pretty excited.  We arrived and Michael was already there at the curb to greet us. 

I'm so glad we got to go!  What a great trip!!!!

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