My Kids and Grandkids

When daughter Jenny was sitting at my breakfast table in Victoria the morning of June 10th, having just arrived by train with the kids, her husband Christopher sent some pictures of the sky over their hometown of Tioga, North Dakota.  The local Tioga Tribune called it “a large cylindrical cumulonimbus storm that flashed lightning throughout its mass and dropped torrential rains and in some cases hail as it passed over on Thursday, June 9th.”

Jenny also received photos of their trampoline that went sailing across their yard like a frisbee and smashed into their garage.  The storm also topped off some of the beautiful evergreen trees lining their drive.

The storm produced golf ball sized hail that damaged 30,000 acres of crop land across two counties, dented cars, tipped grain bins, smashed windows, snapped utility poles, and dropped electric lines.  Is anything more powerful, or picturesque, than Mother Nature?

A closer look shows us that this is not the Norgaard farm.

Neither is this.  Chris got this picture from a friend of his in Tioga.

Back in Minnesota, our first event after breakfast was at the Mall of America where we had lunch at our favorite spot, the Rainforest Café.

Addie and Gunnar saw the elephants move their heads from one side to the next and wave their floppy ears.

Gunnar looked at the burger he ordered and asked, “How am I supposed to eat this?”

Jenny had walleye tacos and Addie had shrimp linguini.

Gunnar Ray first met this character when he was just a baby.

It’s like they recognized each other.

The next day we went to the Waconia Regional Park, just five miles down the road from Victoria.

Our grandchildren often use Allan’s chair like a loveseat.

The next day we went back to the Rainforest Cafe where we met Nick and his little ones for lunch.

I love when my good kids get to see each other.

And I love when Addie and Gunnar and Sophie and Mia get to see each other.

One of Sophie’s favorite characters is Dora.

But I think she was looking at the American Girl store.

Yes, Grandpa Al comes along with us to the Mall of America.

Jenny loves her godchild.  The feelings are mutual.

Our next adventure was Sea Life at Mall of America.  It used to be called Underwater World.

It’s like walking through the middle of a large aquarium, without getting wet.

There is an open pool where we can reach in and touch the leathery skin of stingrays.

We made a point of stopping by the American Girl store.  Addie, Sophie, and Mia have those dolls.

My American girls.

Gunnar helped Sophie collect some possible purchase items to show her mama when she gets home.

It has always been difficult for the tender heart of Sophie to say goodbye. 

Since it was still hot and the sun was still shining, the rest of us drove over to the Lake Minnetonka Regional Park, which is only about ten miles from Victoria.

At 10 o’clock that night we were at Union Depot in St. Paul so Jenny, Addie, and Gunnar could catch the train back to Tioga.  It seemed they had just arrived.