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 Our family vacation this summer was to Washington D.C. We haven’t taken a big trip for a few years, so we were pretty excited. Fortunately the trip lived up to all our expectations. The kids really enjoy history, especially American history, so it was rewarding to see the excitement on their faces when they were actually able to see many of the sights they’ve read about.

 We stayed in a hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, just a couple of blocks from the White House, so we walked just about everywhere. On our first day as we walked to the Capitol for a tour, Brett turned to me and said, “Now I know why they call it Capitol Hill.”. Yes, you do walk up a hill to get there. As we toured the Library of Congress, Adam was impressed by the fact he was looking at books that actually belonged to Thomas Jefferson.

 The kids will probably say that the monuments were their favorite and they truly are awe inspiring. We saw them during the day and at night. I think nighttime is my favorite. The lights shining around and through the memorials make them even more impressive and add a certain serenity to them. It seemed like no matter where we went, you could see the Washington Monument, which is fitting for our first president and the city named after him.

 One of the highlights had to be viewing the original Declaration of Independence. That really made history come to life for the kids. For those of you that have seen the movie National Treasure, you know the Declaration of Independence has a role. The kids commented on how the actual room where the Declaration of Independence is kept is not as well lit as in the movie. Ah movie magic.

 I feel fortunate that we were able to take this vacation. Our kids grew in their knowledge of our country and its historical roots. They had experiences that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Vacations are important not only for what we learn, but for the time we’re able to spend with each other as family. As I turn the page on the calendar, there is only one month of summer vacation left. But what a great summer it’s been.

I am sitting in Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport waiting for the final flight back to Minneapolis /St Paul. While here we got news that Brett Favre decided to retire (??) Time will be the final judge on that decision, but it was good for some meal time discussions. That was far less important than some of the time I was out and about the last 5 days.

We traveled to Washington DC to spend some leisure time and soak up a lot of the nation’s history. We were able to see a lot of important sites and sights, and put in a lot of walking miles. One of the best things I did, though, was go for a run every morning (except Sunday). Far from making me more tired, the runs warmed me up and got my day started right. Even though we would be on our feet for 10 hours or so, walking used different muscles and actions than running, so both were compatible. It was also great to see the National Mall with far fewer people around than later in the day.

During 2 of these runs, I had company. Monday morning’s run was with Brett and Adam, complaining about the early wakeup time (6:30), but willing to put in 5+ miles at an “old-man’s pace.” I felt proud that my sons were willing participants in the sport that I enjoy. This morning Lori and I let the kids sleep in while we put in an easy 2 miles to start the day.

All in all it was a great vacation. We live in a great nation and should honor those that helped shaped our country and also those that currently serve our country in various capacities.

We are back from vacation and counting down to our County Fair.  We took the Amtrak train out to Glacier National Park for vacation.  The scenery was breathtaking and  I would highly suggest it for any family.  My daughters ran across a mama moose with her baby on a trail, we had a snowball fight on top of a mountain, and the boys skipped rocks on a crystal-clear lake.  It was the perfect mix of relaxation and activity for me.

While on vacation my brother-in-law called asking if we wanted a puppy.  We had been considering getting a puppy, hoping our older dog would help train a new puppy.  So, we came home to an adorable black and white border collie that we named Hal.  He is full of energy and is already showing his herding instincts towards the cattle, pigs, and kids.

We also came home knowing that there are only a couple weeks left before the Goodhue County Fair.  The 4-H building projects are mosting complete.  My dad helped Max build a gun rack earlier this week.  My dad has a lot of woodworking tools, so he is a great help.  We are walking the pigs twice a day now.  It’s amazing how quickly they learn the routine.  The kids are also walking and grooming the cattle daily.  Our fair starts August 10th, eleven days to go…

June was a month packed full of giving back to our communities.  Hosting picnics, camera crews, and cattle shows.  Helping with 4-H clinics, 4-H camp, bible school, and a funeral.  And of course, showing our Pork Power while running in Grandma’s 1/2 Marathon.

July brings a change and time for vacation.  We are going North, South, and West for our trips.  My son Max headed north to the Boundary Waters last week with a friend’s family.  He loves nature and the outdoors, so I’m sure he will have great stories to tell from this trip.  There’s no way to communicate with him while he’s there, so we will have to wait until he gets home to hear all the exciting details of his vacation.  The house has been pretty quiet without him around.

My daughter Kendrah, who loves to show animals, headed south to College Station, Texas for the Gelbvieh Junior National Cattle Show.  We told her a year ago that we wouldn’t be going because it was way too far, but she was determined to go.  She coordinated a ride with a couple other Minnesota families, and she is in Texas as of last night.  I’ve been communicating with her a lot through texting.  She’s told me things I really didn’t even need to know.

Finally, our whole family is heading west to Glacier National Park in Montana.  We are taking the train out to Whitefish which should be an interesting experience.  My husband Brandon is the only one from our family who has ever been on a train.  We plan to zipline (even though I’m deathly afraid of heights), whitewater raft, and hike while out there.  Any other must see or must do activities?

Coordinating a vacation is a little trickier when owning a farm.  The animals require attention every day.  We can’t close on the weekend or holidays.  We got over this hurdle by growing to a size where we need employees.  Employees mean more management challenges, but employees also mean more flexability to take a day off.  We really appreciate our employees, and wouldn’t ever be able to get away without them.  It’s a win-win situation all around.