The kids and I trekked to the Minnesota Zoo in early summer. We went during the week, so for the first couple hours we basically had the place to ourselves.
We wandered around the outdoor walkways, eventually arriving at the farm area. We took the tractor ride the rest of the way to the farmyard.

the girls on the tractor ride

Once there we chased chickens, fed goats, and held baby chicks.

Later on we came to Prairie Dog Town. Caleb and Corbin especially enjoyed their silly antics.

four prairie dogs

I thought the baby Talkin was adorable! He was scampering between Mom and Dad, nibbling greenery.

baby Talkin and it's mom

Nora's highlight was the leopard.

a leopard

To Nora, a cat is a cat, no matter how big (the teeth).

Nora and the leopard

Here's one more shot of the leopard, as we ventured on.

the leopard

The bears are always fun to watch, especially when they are swimming.

the Russian bears

Before we headed to the indoor parts of the zoo, we decided to check out a new playground area. Here's Caleb caught in a big "web."

Calreb in a rope web

But before we could explore to far, the floodgates were opened, and a whole campful of kids (literally!) arrived and took the place over.
So we went to the zoo's Discovery Bay. We all thought the sea horses were awesome.


The sea dragons were just as amazing.

a sea dragon

My personal favorite had to be the butterfly gardens. We ended our zoo trip there. Alex got some nice shots of some of the butterflies and moths. Here is a brief slideshow of some of my favorites:

Number of Pictures: of

In July we went to our District Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses in Rochester, Minnesota. This year was extra special because Lee had a small part. Here he is on stage, practicing.


One more shot:

Lee on stage

We all loved the 3 days of spiritual feeding. The kids also enjoyed feeding the baby ducks on our lunch break. This bunch even nibbled Caleb's shoe laces!

baby ducklings

Before we knew it, summer was drawing to a close, and it was County Fair time. This year our fair was having a Lego Building Contest. The kids are VERY much into Legos, so the eldest four decided to enter.
After weeks of careful planning and building, the big day arrived. It was over 90 degrees, and the humidity was stifling, but the kids were up to it, so off we went.

The contest wasn't until late afternoon, so we had some fun exploring the farm barns and getting free goodies at the commercial booths. Ice cream is just the thing for days like these!!

the kids eating ice cream

Alex tried his luck at a ring toss booth:

Alex at the ring toss

While he didn't win, his little sister Anna did!

Anna at the ring toss

We took a horse driven wagon ride around the grounds.

the horses and wagon

the wagon and horses again

Soon it was time to go to the Lego judging. The kids were excited and a bit nervous.
Here's Nora with her creation. She made a farm scene. While she didn't win, she loved just being part of it all.

Nora and her creation

Alex made a Fair Midway scene. He came in first place in the teen age group!

Alex with his creation

Corbin made a building construction scene. He won third place in the kids age group!

Corbin with his creation

And Caleb made a giant robo-bird. He won second place in the teen group!

Caleb with his creation

This was the first time any of them had entered a competition. I was very proud of their attitude: they liked seeing the other kids creations more than winning a prize. They look forward to next year's Lego building contest!

The summer went by so fast! Here are some other random around the house shots.
Caleb made a parakeet cake for a dessert one night.

Caleb with his cake

A rainbow was spotted in our backyard.

a rainbow

Our cat Luigi had to have surgery on his ear, as it came down with a bad infection and became horribly swollen overnight. The surgery went smoothly, but the poor guy had to wear a cone for several weeks. Nurse Nora was there for him the whole time. Here he is with his in-the-cone look.

Luigi with his cone

Nora made sure Luigi still got in on the fun times.

What a bunch of cool kids!

the girls dressed up

Next stop: back to school and autumn! But that's another outing...

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