On Tuesday, following our time in Sioux Falls (Sunday night with Tim Hawkins, and Monday with Matt, April and the zoo), we drove northeasterly to Kerkhoven, MN where my brother and his little family had moved. It was (still!) raining as it had been since Sunday night. We arrived Tuesday afternoon and after greeting and seeing the house, we all just collapsed on the couch and watched a movie. It felt so nice to do that on a rainy afternoon.
Nathan and Ana are renting this cute little house on the edge of a field from a man in their church. It was his mother's house but he had it updated for them before they moved in. It's very nice and just right for them.
The area added on behind the two stall garage is a long laundry room with a bathroom on the end. We decided to put all four kids in there instead of trying to put some with us (in the guest bedroom next door) or downstairs in the black unfinished (and scary) basement. It worked out very well except for the last morning when Samuel woke up confused and peed on the edge of his and Evie's air mattress!
The following day, Wednesday, was a little less rainy, but still chilly and windy, as if it was fall instead of mid-August, which is usually sweltering in Minnesota. That morning we went 15 miles east to Willmar where my aunt Nancy and uncle Mike live. Mike was gone but Nancy treated gave us some hand-me-downs and a yummy lunch. Then we drove downtown to the YMCA. Our plan was to swim, but since there would be a pool break shortly, we had the kids play in the jungle gym for a bit.
|Even Ez made it up there. Of course he had to be forced down the slide with Noah though...|
The pool was rather small, but it passed the time for two hours. The kids had fun.
After dinner at Nathan and Ana's that evening, Nancy came and picked up Noah and Evie, whom she had invited to stay the night at her house. This was the next morning when she dropped them off. Nancy is my dad's sister. His siblings are in the same birth order as ours - boy, girl, boy, boy. My dad is the oldest.
Thursday, after we had our kids back from Nancy, we drove 30 minutes farther northeast to Sibley State Park and "climbed" Mount Tom. Said mount is actually just a hill, one of the highest for 50 miles and is not far north of Willmar. We drove up the hill (instead of hiking all five or six miles) and then walked the short paved trail to the observation tower, which was unfortunately closed. We ate our lunch up here, thankful to finally have some nice vacation worthy weather to enjoy. Then, because we didn't want to leave yet and there was nothing else to do, Terry and the kids played tag. I love Evie's hair flying and she runs away from daddy/It, who she didn't expect to find up there.
Just keep running!
When they were really desperate to get away, they'd go down the path a little ways.
And here you can see the tower better.
Eating my aunt's chocolate chip cookies. Nom nom nom.
I can't do a proper selfie...
Enjoying the view and the sunshine.
The view south...
Camera fail again.
Next we drove down the hill and stopped at the interpretive center. There was a fireman display and the kids took turns putting their faces in the fireman face. Noah...
Samuel (I seriously thought this was Ezra at first)...
And Ezra. Yeah, that's definitely him.
Next we went on a "short" hike. Turns out that one and a half miles was a bit much for Samuel and Ezra, who wanted to be carried after about halfway through.
It was very pretty, and very wooded. So many oak trees! I enjoyed all the acorns on the ground. So different compared to pine needles and cones in our Black Hills. Ezra liked them too. He wanted them all.
Poor dad, the beast of burden. ;)
|Notice that red bite on Samuel's right knee? There was a ring around it and I was worried it was Lyme Disease, especially when he spiked a high fever when we returned to Rapid. But we had him tested and it was negative.|
After that we were so done. We drove south to Willmar, bought a gift for Nathan and Ana, ate cheap ice cream from Burger King and headed back to Kerkhoven.
Since Nathan was still at work and Ezra had fallen asleep in the van, we stopped by the church for a tour.
It's a nice little church! It reminds me a lot of what Parkview was like back in the day when it was First E-Free. I miss that place and Nathan's new church made me miss it more.
|Noah is giving a wild sermon, apparently...|
Ana walked down with Theo and Thorin and we got to see the newly updated sign!
Everyone except Ez and I walked back to the house (Kerkhoven is small - only 737 - so it didn't take long) and then the kids played at making a "stew" with rocks, twigs and leaves in the remains of a driveway puddle.
I got another good picture of them! Awww, they're so cute.
Their house is surrounded on two sides by farmland - soybeans - and has this beautiful, old red giant barn on the corner of the two acre lot. Nathan has some of his obsessive wood supply stored there.
Looking south. Lovely.
West to east.
Ana fixed us a yummy meal of chicken, carrots and potatoes in the crock pot. That's my parent's old oak dining room table Nathan refinished. We sure needed the leaf.
The next morning, Friday, we left. Our DVD players are like five years old and don't work very well, so we propped the Nook up there and let the kids watch that way. It passed the time, though I do feel they are very spoiled. I had to drive to Chicago (17 hours) twice a year as a child and we didn't have movies to keep us busy. We just slept the whole time. And fought.
We made very good time and arrived home just before dinner time that night. Samuel was so exhausted he fell asleep right where he sat. He never ever does that. So after about a half hour, when dinner was ready, I woke him up and realized he was absolutely burning up. His temperature was 103!! I don't know what it was, but not Lyme's disease. He was better in a couple days.