We went out to Sibley State Park again this year to enjoy the fall colors and have a picnic lunch. The weather was warm and breezy. The kids got to work roasting brats and hot dogs.

the kids roasting hot dogs and brats

After out appetite was filled, the gang headed for the beach, where Nora quickly went in. Evidently my advice to bring their swimsuits was not heeded.

a wet Nora

Ella, our little fish, could care less that she was drenched.

a wet Ella

So what do you do with a bunch of soaking wet kids when it is time to go home? Thankfully the gift shop was having it's end of season sale, and the girls and Corbin all received new shirts and sundresses! Lesson for next year: pack those swimsuits!

the gang all wet

Our family enjoyed watching the Storm Chasers show on television before it was cancelled, so when we heard a tornado chase vehicle, called the TIV, was coming to Minnesota, we went to see it. It was much bigger than the television show made it seem! The kids quickly jumped inside and explored it all.

some of the kids inside the TIV

This vehicle was also used to hold the special IMAX film used to make the movie Tornado Alley. Here is a shot of the 360 degree rotating turret that held the special camera and film inside the TIV.

the turret

Here is a front view of the TIV. TIV stands for Tornado Intercept Vehicle. It is a custom made vehicle that has been driven inside actual tornadoes. The crew collected scientific data as well as the IMAX footage. Notice how small Ella looks standing next to it.

TIV front view

The kids all thought it was awesome!

the kids inside of the TIV

Here is a side view. The side plates can go down, and huge stakes (the red things in front of the doors in the picture) drive into the ground to secure the vehicle before a tornado goes over it.

side view of the TIV

The kids thought it was really neat getting to see something that had been on a television show. Here's Rosa and Anna inside the TIV

Rosa and Anna

To say Corbin was excited was a bit of an understatement.

Corbin in the drivers seat

Alex got a kick out of the warning around the rear license plate.

the warning not to follow in bad weather

Caleb found the safety helmet of the maker of the IMAX movie, Sean Casey, under a seat. Sean wore it when the vehicle was inside tornadoes so he could keep filming.

Caleb wearing the helmet

Here's another picture of the girls exploring the TIV.

the girls inside the TIV

They all took turns "driving". Here's Nora:

Nora driving

Anna at the wheel:

Anna driving

Ella thought that was the best!

Ella at the wheel

One last shot of the vehicle:

the TIV

One of the meteorologists on the Storm Chasers show, Brandon Ivy, was also there. He was nice enough to visit with us for a while. Here he is with the kids.

Brandon and the kids

It was a lot of fun seeing the TIV in person, but we all agreed we hope it never visits our neighborhood!

On a side note, while heading back to our vehicle we spotted a bat on a wall by the sidewalk. The little guy didn't seem to care that we were there; he just wanted to sleep!

Ever wonder what happens when teenagers get sent outside to play? Two words: strange things.

Corbin with balls in his shirt

Talk about extreme body building, Corbin!

Corbin again

Oh, but wait, Caleb, too?

Caleb with balls in his shirt


Caleb again

What a pair!

Caleb and Corbin

Oh, but what's this? They are moveable?!?

Caleb looking like a hunchback

From buff bodybuilder to old hunchback in one easy step.

Caleb again

How to catch the elusive Alex on film? Easy, have one of his brothers take the picture.


What a bunch of hams!

Alex again

Some of our friends invited us to a park for a shared lunch and some baseball and other fun. Rosa thought up and made some cookie "party hats" for the occasion.

Rosa with her party hats

Ella had fun running around the basketball court.

Ella with a ball

She also seemed to enjoy just rolling around in the grass.

Ella rolling

We raked up a leaf pile for the kids to jump in. Here's Anna after jumping in.

Anna in the leaves

Ella was quite the stunt baby! She jumped in with such gusto one usually reserves for water.

Ella in the leaves

She didn't seem any worse for the wear, though.

Ella again

Meanwhile, the baseball game was in underway. Here's Alex up to bat:

Alex at bat

Nora's first swing was a miss...

Nora at bat

but her next attempt was a hit!

Nora hitting the bat

Lee was busy keeping Ella entertained...

Lee and Ella on a slide

boy is she a busy baby!

Ella at a water pump

We all had a fun time. Here's Caleb, thinking he's a bird again.

Caleb in a tree

On to a different topic: cutting the kids hair myself has it's perks: we can be silly before finishing the haircut. Here's Corbin with a haircut that will never leave the confines of our house.

Corbin with wild hair

Once the Science Museum of Minnesota was showing the movie the TIV crew had made we went there to see it. We also explored the exhibits. Here's Corbin and Nora pretending they are on the news.

Corbin and Nora on a tv

What a bunch of hams!

the kids messing around on the tv

We took a break to eat the picnic lunch we brought. The day was so nice we ventured outside to eat.

the gang eating

Once lunch was over, we explored the place! We ventured back in time to see the ice age:

Anna with ice age exhibit

Caleb discovered how an electric car engine works;

Caleb playing with the motor

and Anna and Ella had fun building with foam blocks.

Anna and Ella with their block creations

Nora and Alex made their own spiral drawings:

and Corbin made some weird noises.

Corbin at a exhibit

Sean Casey, the producer of the Tornado Alley movie, was there. We had an interesting conversation with him. Here are the kids with Sean.

Sean and the kids

The girls had fun with a giant chair:

Nora, Rosa, and Anna in a big chair

and they all enjoyed shooting balls out of a huge air cannon:

the kids at the ball launcher

sometimes science is fun!

the kids with the balls again

Here's Alex at the tornado exhibit.

Number of Pictures: of

Lee and Ella play some tunes:

Lee and Ella at a keyboard

Anna makes a ball float:

Anna with a floating ball

and Nora sees one of her favorite animals: a crane.

Nora and the girls with a crane bird

We all had a fun time at the Museum. Back at home, Caleb was treated with a character from his favorite movie, Rio, for enduring the start of school. He had the talking Blu bird, but had never been able to find Jewel, so when I saw it for sale, I grabbed it. Here he is opening the surprise:

Caleb with Jewel

We also visited the Nelson Farm again this fall. Anna quickly made some friends by feeding the goats.

Anna and some goats

the llamas weren't so sure of her, though.

the girls with some lamas

The farm had an Ag Olympics competition, and the kids tried various games. Here's Rosa trying the sack throw.

Rosa with a sack

The kids all rode the wiggly cart rides. Here they are, waiting to go:

the kids in carts

Corbin loved doing the wagon rides all by himself this year, since he was finally old enough!

Corbin driving the wagon

Another round of cart rides followed:

Caleb and Rosa rode the wagons:

Caleb and Rosa in a wagon

The weather had been so dry that the whole farmyard was very dusty. The kids looked like they were chimney sweeps after several cart rides down the dusty trail!

dirty Nora and Anna

The girls had to have a ride on the ponies. Here's Anna:


Nora rode a real horse this year!


and Rosa on her pony:


The kids also all had way too much fun chasing the poor bunnies around. Here's Caleb with his catch:


Anna with hers:


Corbin with one:


and Rosa with hers:


Anna loved the little calf:

Anna with a calf

They all had fun with the bounce balls as well. Here's Caleb:

Caleb in mid-bounce

and Corbin:

Corbin bouncing

and Alex bouncing extra high:

Alex bouncing high

Before we left the farm we had the kids joke around the photo cutout again this year:

group shot

Back at the home front, life was as interesting as always. A feral cat had followed Caleb home one day while he was walking his dog. We tried to find the owners, but it seemed the cat adopted us. He refused to leave our front porch, and it was getting quite cold at night. The bottom line? We now have another cat. Meet Nit Wit:

Nit Wit

The family all loves him. He is a very playful and funny cat. He loves the indoor life now.

Nit Wit again

Finally, the kids had fun making and frosting gingerbread cookies this fall. Alex was kind enough to help Ella with hers, but I am not sure how thrilled he was about doing so.

Alex and Ella

Yes, they tasted great!

gingerbread cookie crew

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