I broke down and purchased some leg warmers for Mia a couple of weeks ago. I kept seeing them on Etsy and decided that she NEEDED to have a pair - and then went crazy and bought 4 pairs instead! I decided to purchase some from Fate Goddess, mostly because she had cute designs, a multi-pair deal, and free shipping! Woo-hoo! Mia seems to like them, plus they'll be a great extra layer as the weather starts to cool down. In addition to the fabulous rainbow striped ones shown below, she has black and white houndstooth ones, brown ones with green and pink hearts, and plain white ones (to accessorize her Gophers and Vikings cheerleading outfits!). Too much fun!
The great thing about these is that they're technically a toddler size, so they're a bit big on her now, but will fit for longer. She is getting really excited about the camera these days!
For those of you not from the area, or those of you from the area, but with your heads in a hole, last week areas in southern MN were hit with 8-11 inches of rain in a 24 hour period. My parents' farm had at least 10 inches fall, which flooded the nearby corn fields, their driveway, and quite a few of the roads east of the farm. The water was so deep that they could only drive a large tractor through it. They eventually hauled a couple of pickup trucks through the water (using the tractor and a trailer) to be parked at the end of the lane, and then proceeded to use a small row boat to cross their "moat" to get on and off the farm. Although there wasn't much anyone could do except wait for the rain to stop and the water to recede, David and I headed down Friday afternoon to do what we could to help. We stopped by the farm, took a few pictures, then took the rowboat up to the farm itself. Since we couldn't do too much on the farm to help, we all headed down to the cabin (which is on a lake about 20 minutes away from the farm) to help get the boat and dock out of the rising water. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get the entire dock out, but made a big enough dent that my parents should be able to pull the remainder out fairly quickly. As we were leaving town yesterday morning, it was raining again and the driveway to the farm was still unpassable. Here's hoping the rain stays away for awhile so that everyone down there can dry out - and start harvesting the crops they can salvage.
Hauling trucks across the "moat." (These first two images were taken by my mom, on the day of all of the rain.) Heading out to do chores. The driveway. The flooded fields. The view of the road, from the driveway. Our boat ride up to the farm.
We took an hour and hauled Amelia to the free Como Zoo a couple of weekends ago. She wasn't too excited - most of the animals are a bit too far away for her to really see. She did see a sea lion, though - he splashed up out of the water right in front of her! David and I enjoyed seeing the new baby giraffe, as well as the new polar bear odyssey. I have a feeling the zoo will be a BIG hit with her next summer!
Mia made her debut trip to the MN state fair this year - and she loved it so much we took her back the next weekend! Since grandpa Jon is such a fair nut, he made sure to come up and go with us the second time - and then proceeded to introduce Amelia to all sorts of loud and smelly animals! While there, we also saw Liz, who convinced Mia that she needed to become a FFA'er someday!
While at the fair, she visited uncle Dan in the Miracle of Birth Center where he was taking photographs of kids (and some adults) holding various baby animals. Mia really wanted to have her picture taken with a piggy (just like Piglet!), so we laid her down on a hay bale and introduced her to her first baby pig! Since the photos are copyrighted, I can't share those, but we did manage to get a video. At the end, when Daniel's head is partly blocking the shot, the piggy actually walks across Mia's back. That pretty much ended the photo shoot. Luckily, we got some great shots before that!
Jen and Brian (David's brother) just had their third child - Gavin Eric - on the 7th! He was a whopping 8lbs 15 oz! Mia can't wait to meet him (she told me)! Think of all of the fun we're going to have at Christmas this year - one 8 year old (Alex), one 3 year old (Emory), an almost-1 year old (Mia), and an almost-4 month old (Gavin)! Whew! I'm excited already!
Mia turned 8 months old last Thursday! Since it was the Gophers opener (and time for a 'real' photo shoot was nonexistent), she was dressed to watch the game. In the past month she's started crawling(!) and has broken through two more teeth (her top two lateral incisors). She's 'talking' more, likes to holler a lot, and is becoming more demanding all of the time (can you say red-headed temper?). She is eating more everyday and by this point she's made it through just about all of the typical fruits and veggies (she's still not too sure about bananas, but seems to mostly like everything else). It continually amazes us how quickly she is growing up - it seems like any day now she's going to get up, walk over to us, and start telling us about her day!
Hello red hair!
And here's proof of her crawling! This was taken in the tiny cabin we stayed at outside of Denali National Park in Alaska. Two things to note: 1) yes, she is crawling after daddy's bottle of beer! and 2) the area she is crawling in was the entire walkway between all of our beds.
To pick up where I left off - we spent Saturday in Anchorage with the extended family. This consisted of a quick hike to the river behind Kurt's house, catching part of Kristin's volleyball scrimmage, heading to the Snow Goose Brewpub in downtown Anchorage for lunch, hitting the farmer's market and festival (not all that exciting, unfortunately), then heading back to Kurt's for some down time, a quick hike at the Nature Center (avoiding the trails that had bears!), senior pics with Kristin, and a fish fry (halibut coated in buffalo sauce was definitely my favorite!). The next morning we packed up and started the second long trek of our vacation - another 5 hour drive to Denali National Park.
Along the way, we made a quick detour to a musk ox farm, which I had read about in one of the guidebooks. The tour was extremely thorough, and the qiviut that is harvested from the underbellies of the oxen and knitted into hats and scarves was extremely expensive, so we didn't get to purchase anything as we were hoping. I still think it was a pretty good stop (these animals were around with the woolly mammoths and saber tooth tigers, but somehow they survived!), but the rest of the family would probably have another opinion...
Family picture with the musk oxen - Stephen had to keep feeding him grass or he was out of there! Check out those horns!
Then, after a lot more driving, we saw Mt. McKinley (Denali)! Stephen was driving, and I was riding in the front with him while David and Mia slept in back (and the rest of the crew were in another vehicle) - and I saw this HUGE mountain covered in snow and I wondered aloud whether that was Denali or not, but Stephen was like, "No, it's probably not..." so we drove on, but finally I called the other vehicle and made everyone turn around so that we could head back to the viewing point and take pictures (the thing with Denali is that it's SO big that it has its own weather system, so it's fairly uncommon to actually get a good look at it - and when you get closer to the actual park you can't see it anymore until you drive 100+ miles into the park because there are so many other mountains hiding it). The images don't even remotely do it justice - WOW! The best part? We saw it driving back through two days later, too? Daniel took a photo out of the car window, but we were all too exhausted to stop and take more photos!
This is the part of the trip where things got interesting. We stuck 5 Helvigs, one out-law, and one baby into a TINY cabin for the next two nights! Seriously, look at how big this thing was! There was one large room with 2 double beds, a bunk bed, and a table for 4, an open doorway into a galley kitchen, and a separate (quite sizable) bathroom. Next door, there was a trapping cabin, with traps hanging sinisterly below. It was quaint. But seriously, the lodging was really nice, just a bit small (and the entire Helvig side, minus myself, snores...). We put our 3 bottles of Alaskan wine that we had purchased in Homer to good use - and that was only the first night!
The next morning, we drove the rest of the way into the National Park. Here's some important information, which was kind of hard to figure out from the guidebooks and information online - there are trails that you can hike right around the visitor's center near the entrance, otherwise, you can purchase bus tickets and ride further into the park, get off the bus, and hike from there. Since we weren't sure what we were doing, we ended up buying a set of bus tickets, then realizing that we needed to purchase one for the baby - and bring along her car seat, which meant hauling it hiking with us. Needless to say, that wasn't going to happen, so we were able to return our tickets, drive straight into the main entrance visitor's center, and hike from there. Unfortunately, this meant that we didn't get to see much of the park, nor did we see any wildlife, but we at least got an idea of what is there in case any of us travels back someday! We did make the trek up to the top of Mount Healy, which we found out AFTER our hike was the most strenuous trail near the visitor's center. Mia had fallen asleep on our drive in, so she rode in the Snugli with grandpa until she woke up and was moved into the backpack carrier on daddy's back. She did really well - except she decided she needed to eat and be changed during our only rain shower of the trip! We made due though, and it wasn't an extreme downpour so that helped! Here are some shots from the hike:
Heading back down the mountain... And this is what we saw when we got back down the mountain!
The next morning, we drove back into the park to do a quick (and easy!) trail around Horseshoe Lake to loosen up before making the long trip back into Anchorage. We grabbed supper with the family, packed up 200lbs of halibut, rockfish, cod, and salmon, and caught a red-eye back to Minneapolis! What a great trip!