Minnesota River Valley: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Part I

One of the goals my wife and I have set for ourselves is to explore the Minnesota River Valley as it passes through the Metro Area. It’s a pretty large area – the green space surrounding the river is a mile wide in places, and if I include everything between US-169 and the airport, there’s a lot of ground to cover.

I’m pretty familiar with Fort Snelling State Park, but there’s also a couple of National Wildlife Refuges in there, as well as dozens of parks owned by Bloomington and Eden Prairie. Some of the trails meander continuously throughout all of them, though, so it can be tough to know exactly who owns what down there. And that’s just the Hennepin County side of the river. The Dakota County side is equally complex, I’m sure.

Our first exploration started at the Old Cedar Avenue Trailhead. We followed the path northeast for about a mile and a half, past the old gravel pits to the Bloomington Bass Ponds. I’m about 80% sure that our entire trip was contained within the Long Meadow Lake Unit Park, part of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

View Larger Map

Here’s some photos of the afternoon hike:

Before heading out, KP and I made sure to double-check our provisions. I required soda; her, puffy rice snacks.

Vision. Determination.

We were hoping we would be able to go out onto the Old Cedar Avenue bridge. We knew it was “closed”, but closed and “closed” are two different things. There were actually people out on the bridge – you could get around the fences, but it required a little bit more scrambling than I was comfortable with doing with KP strapped to my chest.

Old Cedar Avenue Bridge - Closed.

The trails could accommodate only the toughest of travelers. Benches were scarce, requiring nearly a quarter mile trek between sitting opportunities.


KP loves bridges!

Infrastructure! TH-77.

My sturdy travel companion. She is an extraordinarily hardy and capable outdoorsperson, other than the fact that her socks keep falling off.

Travel Companions.

Pretty nice views of Long Meadow Lake.

Long Meadow Lake.

KP, emboldened by her first successful venture into the vast uncharted Minnesota River Valley, tried to ride home without a car seat facing forward. Not so fast, kid.

She's laughing because she's about to pull off one of her socks and stuff it in her mouth. Typical KP.

Ever explored the Minnesota River Valley? What’s your favorite part?

Ice Skating with a Baby

(please click through to site for full effect)

Ever wondered how to be totally badass and still enjoy the winter after having a baby? Here are some options:

One option is to just lay the kid down in a generic orange sled and pull her behind you while you ice skate around a lake.

Ice Skating with a Baby

It works pretty well, although the kid’s not strapped in or anything, so be careful going around curves or she’ll roll out. This worked pretty well. ┬áMy kid fell asleep instantly.

“Uh, honey.. She’s not moving anymore. Will you make sure she’s sleeping and not frozen?”

Just lay the kid down on the sled or something.

If there are multiple babies involved, you may have better luck leaving the skates at home and just walking on ice. See if you can scare up one of these deals with wheels:

Walking on Ice with Baby Chariot

Trust me, this will put them to sleep, too. Plus, the little flap probably helps keep them out of the wind. And they’re buckled in, so feel free to leave the ice for a little bumpier terrain. Be careful with this, though, because the chariot is a little bit heavier. If it falls through the ice with babies inside, it will probably pull you in with it.

Totally buckled in safely, and falling asleep.

Ok. That’s everything you need to know. Have a great winter!


Joke told by my father to my 6 month old KP while she ate sweet potatoes:

A mama and papa potato had a little baby potato, and they called it Sweet Potato. As Sweet Potato grew up, one day she said “When I grow up I’m going to marry Bill O’Reilly, the famous man on TV.” The mama and papa potatoes responded “Oh, I’m sorry honey. You can’t marry him. He’s just a commentator*.”

*Get it? Common Tator? Jeez, do I have to explain all my jokes to you?

Why I’m giving up on fashion blogs

I’m formally announcing that I’m no longer reading fashion blogs. It’s been my dirty little secret for over a year now, but it’s time for that habit to end.

It’s not that I don’t still enjoy it, it’s just about time. There are hundreds of things I’d like to be spending time on, and fashion blogs just isn’t high enough on the list anymore. And I don’t need the distractions keeping me from spending time on other things.

Like my kid, for example. What a time suck. (cutest time suck ever!)

However, like most addictions, I’m keeping a foot in the door. I’ve created a Google Reader bundle, and you can drop all 129 of these blogs into your reader any time you’d like by clicking here. How’s that for convenience? Should I ever find myself with some down time and a desire to peruse daily outfit blogs, I can just add them all back into my Reader again. Then delete them again.

Oh addictions, I wish I knew how to quit you.

NOTE: If you view only one fashion blog ever, please let it be Kasmira’s What I Wore 2day.

The Vomit Queens

Huzzah! Another question in the inbox! This one was asked anonymously:

Do you call your daughter KP outside the blog context – is that you’re general nickname for her? (If so I think that’s cool – I was called Bean, or Jellybean as a kid, for similar reasons as KP)

Yep. I call her KP at least half the time. The other half of the time I call her the Vomit Queen, because she likes to dump her lunch out of her face.

Once she’s old enough to wail into a microphone, Imma help her set up her first metal band. I’ve already ordered a Bass Drum head with a zombie logo that says:

KP & The Vomit Queens

Their music will only be available on vinyl. Deal with it.

Any More Questions?
Ask Me Anything!!!