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Thursday, October 20, 2011
a lovely Minnesota in the Fall
I went to Minnesota towards the end of September on a much, MUCH needed vacation. It was to attend Sarah's best friend's wedding, and consequently also visit her grandmother(s) for their birthday. The two weeks before the trip were insanely hectic at work. An FPGA design i had made was exhibiting timing errors in an actual flight part. The decision was made to fix the problem, but it was no small matter. Many, many hours were spent finding the problem, then verifying that it also caused problems in the timing tool. After that, one had to fix the problem, while disturbing as much of the design as possible. Two attempts were made to do this, and both failed. I had one final part. It was 3 hours before my flight left. I made the final changes, went over the design with my bosses, and then programmed a $35,000 (!) dollar device. It was my last chance. I threw it on a board, and tested it thoroughly from -30C to 70C. At the 11th hour, with a mere 90 minutes until my flight for Minnesota, i verified the problem was solved, and the design worked flawlessly.
So you're darn RIGHT i was going to enjoy this vacation!!

I took many, MANY pictures as we had a wonderful time there. So this post is longer than most, but i believe you'll love the photographs.
We flew out to Minnesota and the next day decided to go to a Renaissance festival! It has been a long, LONG time since i've been to a Renaissance festival, but my memories from the first time were fantastic. So i had to go again. Alexander dressed up as a Pirate. We enjoyed many medieval food such as roasted turkey legs, and plenty of beer and mead.

Now far and away, Alexander's favorite animal is the Elephant. He has a big, snugly plush stuffed Slon he sleeps with every night. Did i say one? No! He's got a whole family of them: Pappa, mamma, and a little baby. He loves them.
So just imagine how wide his eyes opened when we discovered that they were giving elephant rides at the festival! We just had to get one. It was his favorite thing EVER!

The next day, we drove down to Wisconsin to see her extended family. The trip was absolutely beautiful. I had forgotten there for a bit why FALL was my favorite season. The crisp air, the smells, and the LEAVES. So many gorgeous colors.

We were visiting her grandmother on her mom's side first, who is 96 years old. This fantastic picture is one of my favorites. It shows Sarah's grandmother, the grandmother's daughter (her mom), her mother, Sarah, and out newest little addition. A total of four generations of girls. Priceless!

Then we swung on by to her other grandmother's house who was celebrating her 97th birthday. Yes, NINETY SEVEN! Holy cow! Happy Birthday, great grandma!

While there, we also stopped by the family farm. The farm has chickens, sheep and donkeys. Totally cool.

In addition, Alexander just happens to LOVE tractors, since last year's Minnesota State Fair. So he got to take his second favorite ride with his great uncle Mike who runs the farm. Wow, that's a big tractor!

Now to fight off the boredom that may occur sitting around the house, we decided to take one more trip, a day trip, to a Fall Harvest Festival. This was hosted at a local farm, a BIG farm, and it included many fun and neat Midwest activities that I've never had the pleasure to enjoy! A full blown corn maze. A massive trampoline. A swimming pool sized area filled to the brim with corn. Poor Maggie May didn't quite know what to make of that one. And i for sure had NEVER seen so much corn in my life!
Exotic animals, pig races, pumpkin tossing, OH MY!
It was a tremendous opportunity to enjoy a bit of the 'ol Midwest up close and personal.

Where's the butter??

The Corn has landed!

Don't we just make such cute couples?

The last event, a few days later, was the big wedding. Sarah has three very close friends in Minnesota, and it was now Becky's turn to get hitched. As an added bonus, Alexander was selected on the basis of his charming personality and adorable little face to be the ring barer. He did a fantastic job! It reminds me of the time that i was a ring bearer for a family friend. And now it's his turn. So cute in his little Tux!
After the ceremony, the little guy was the star of the dance floor, showing absolutely zero hesitation to get out there, do some street dancin' moves and cut a rug!

At long last, it was time to go. I honestly didn't want to leave! It was so relaxing and i had so many wonderful experiences that i was clutching on with both hands, and didn't want to let go. Awaiting my back in California was my 'ol 9-to-5 and no doubt a pile of bills.
That thing that we all know as "the real world."
The vacation was over...... but not before one last Hurrah!
We were staying at Sarah's mom's house, who has a large corner lot. And trees. LOTS of trees. These trees produces quite a bit of leaves. And someone had to rake them. So she put us to work! Rake rake rake, after about an hour, we had a massively large, nay, HUMONGOUS pile of leaves. And of course, PLAY time!

I want to give a big shout out to Peggy Lou, who put us up (while putting up with us) in her home. As always, she was a gracious host, a great tour-guide, and a wonderful mother-in-law.
Thanks for everything, and making my stay a true vacation.

. . . = = COMMENTS = = . . .

Sue  posted on  Thursday, November 10, 2011

Yay! Fall!

Jasio  posted on  Thursday, November 10, 2011

Looks like a killer trip. Good ol family fun, and Alexnder's such a little man now. Daaaang. Miss you guys. Can't wait to hang out soon!

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