Alia and I went up to Minnesota with my mom for a quick weekend last month. My mom had a class reunion, and I had a family reunion of my 4th great-grandparents Olav & Tone Louve’s descendants, and a genealogical meeting too. I’d never met anyone there before, but I’d been researching this Norwegian side of my family and it was really fun to see where some of my ancestors lived and meet some very distant cousins!

Our first day we spent at my grandparent’s house.

Minnesota the nicest grass.20150626-DSC_1014Alia was so interested in all the rocks. I’ve never thought about it, but I guess we don’t really do rocks like that here, it’s all mulch. So she thought they were pretty fun.20150626-DSC_1000 Showing off her rock.20150626-DSC_1042(Great)Grandpa has all kinds of pretty flowers.20150626-DSC_1005 20150626-DSC_1066Playing with her grandpa’s old toys. She called that closet “the playroom”.20150626-DSC_107320150626-DSC_1086She found a thank-you card with Kaden’s photo on it and carried it around the whole day. It was the first day of her life without him, I think she missed him a bit 🙂20150626-DSC_1105In Grandma’s kitchen.20150626-DSC_109720150626-DSC_1114Everything always tastes so good at Grandma’s house.20150626-DSC_1127FaceTiming the family back home, and eating her 12th bowl of blueberries (grandparents are so good at spoiling.)20150626-DSC_1129Time for bed.20150626-DSC_1137“Pretend sleeping” on Grandma’s bed.20150627-DSC_1156Saturday we drove down to Houston, Minnesota, where the family reunion and genealogical meeting were, and the town the Louve family immigrated to when they came to America from Norway in the 1860’s. It is a really beautiful place.20150627-DSC_116820150627-DSC_1177Out back of the Stone Church, where the Louve family attended. I visited here back in 2012 with Kaden, but this time we got to attend a service too!20150627-DSC_119220150627-DSC_1183At the genealogical meeting.20150627-DSC_1197We spent the evening in Waukon at my Grandma Fish’s house. Dinner was at Gus & Tony’s, they have the best pizza in the world. It’s taco pizza. It’s amazing.20150627-DSC_121720150627-DSC_1208goofing off with “uncle John”.20150627-DSC_1214I’d picked up some flowers to take to the cemetery the next day, and was relieved to have Grandma Fish’s help, she’s an A+ florist 🙂 She has the cutest little houses too.20150627-DSC_1228Sunday morning we got up early (which wasn’t too bad, since we’re used to Florida time) and went to service at the Stone Church. It was really neat to be inside the church my 4th great grandparents attended. 20150628-DSC_126320150628-DSC_1262The church historian told us the pastor used to stand in a pulpit up where the statue of Jesus is, but that the height made him “too hot in the head” so it was later removed.20150628-DSC_1266Can you spot Alia?20150628-DSC_127120150628-DSC_1295And then we made our way over to Wilmington, the home church of our other Norwegian branch of the family, the Rasks. Built in 1908, it has a lot of family history there.20150628-DSC_1400(the original Wilmington church was built in 1868, where this carving is from.)20150628-DSC_132420150628-DSC_1339Alia & I sitting exactly where my grandma’s family sat in church each week growing up.20150628-DSC_1370Afterwards we put some flowers out in the cemetery. I’d visited here with Kaden in 2012 as well and we didn’t bring flowers that time, but I spend a lot of time in genealogy and I’ve been researching and reading about these people so much, I feel like I almost know them, at least a little bit, and wanted to bring them some flowers this time.20150628-DSC_1403Peder & Kjersti Rask are my 3rd great-grandparents. They immigrated from Hallingdal, Norway at the ages of 15 and 12 with their families in 1857 on the same ship, and married 7 years later. He was a Civil War Veteran.20150628-DSC_1413Everything I have ever heard about my great-great grandmother Selma (Eskar) Rask sounds like she was the kindest person who ever lived.20150628-DSC_1432My great-grandparents, I have actually met them before 🙂20150628-DSC_1422At the “Old Wilmington Cemetery”.20150628-DSC_1444Alia was really into the flower arranging, every time I turned my back she had grabbed a handful of the vases we’d brought and was dispersing them somewhere.20150628-DSC_1449This is the gravesite of Peder & Kjersti Rask’s children, Sara, Oliver, Hanna, & Chrestina, ages 7 months-9 years old, who all died in a single week of scarlet fever.20150628-DSC_146420150628-DSC_146020150628-DSC_1480Standing outside the site of the original 1868 Wilmington Church. I was really happy to be there.20150628-DSC_1526My Aunt Sandy making fun of me for taking a “selfie” 😉
20150628-DSC_1527The next stop was maybe my favorite, if I had to pick one. We drove by & hopped out for a picture at the site of Peder & Kjersti Rask’s farm, and that is their original house built in 1865 behind Alia. 20150628-DSC_1546This is a photo of their farm from 1892, you can see the farmhouse on the right-hand side. Peder, Kjersti, and 3 of their children are towards the front.20150523-Rask Family Farm (800 DPI)
Alia was really distressed when we got there that the farm didn’t have any cows like the 1892 photo showed.20150628-DSC_155020150628-DSC_1554-2It just felt really incredible to know I was standing right where Peder & Kjersti walked every day back and forth to their barns, where their children who died of scarlet fever played, where their 10th son, my great-great grandfather Olaf, grew up and raised his own family with his wife Selma, where my grandma came to her grandparents’ house as a child, and then my dad did to his great-grandparents as well. It’s a lot of family history in one place.20150628-DSC_155520150628-DSC_155820150628-DSC_1559A lot of the weekend looked like this 🙂 Alia was a great little traveler throughout it all. 20150628-DSC_1607Finally at the family reunion! 20150628-DSC_1584All the new cousins!20150628-DSC_1606Our last night, at Aunt Sandy’s house. I have so many nice childhood memories here.20150628-DSC_1608They’re digging up Aunt Sandy’s street, which I doubt she especially enjoys, but Alia thought it was pretty cool 🙂20150629-DSC_1625And we had time for a quick lunch with Nancy before we flew home! 20150629-DSC_1651You gotta get Famous Dave’s when you’re in Minnesota. Chicken dinner doesn’t get much better than that.20150629-DSC_1649The little Minneapolis airport is the best. Their playground makes such a fun experience for kids.20150629-DSC_165820150629-DSC_167120150629-DSC_166220150629-DSC_1674Travel buddies!20150629-DSC_167820150629-DSC_1687

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