It wasn't the State Fair, but . . .

I love the State Fair. I worked there for a few years during college, and since then it has held a special place in my heart. I like seeing the animals (for a little while at least, before the smell starts getting to me). I love seeing oceans of people all around me in every direction (for a little while at least, before the smell starts getting to me). But most of all, I love the food. There are the standards: my annual indulgence of cheese curds (I only need them once a year to remember why I only need them once a year), pork chops on a stick, corn on the cob, Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar (heaven in a bucket), and fresh french fries. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my computer. I love to see each year what new deep-fried food on a stick they've come up with--the possibilities seem endless. I don't need to try them. I just need to see them.

But this year, we decided not to go. We just didn't feel up to following Kyle around ride after ride in the Kiddie Park, not getting to see any of the stuff we wanted to see, putting up with meltdowns every time we tried to leave and go somewhere else. Plus, it's really, really expensive.

Instead, we drove to New Ulm. Yeah, New Ulm. It's about 45 minutes away from here.

What's in New Ulm? Well, our first stop was to see Hermann the German. We thought Kyle might enjoy seeing it. But Kyle is weird about statuary. He loves the buffalo statue here in town. But he freaked out when we tried to show him the spoon and the cherry in Minneapolis. He has also freaked out about the neighbor's ceramic garden frog. And so, he freaked out about our buddy Hermann. Did NOT want to go anywhere near him. Luckily, there was a park nearby, and he had fun playing there for awhile. Before we left, we gave him a chance to see Hermann, but he declined. Troy did go check him out--climbed all the way to the top. But I don't do so well with heights, so I stayed with Kyle on ground level.

After Hermann, we went to Happy Joe's for pizza. Kyle was so impressed. "Wow," he said breathlessly. "That's so cool!"

Hundred-foot statue, meh. Cheap arcade games, now that's amazing.

At one point, Kyle was inspecting one of the games with another little boy. "I saw Hermann the German today!" he told the little boy. I'm sure the other little boy was so impressed.

After Happy Joe's, we went to K-mart. Yes. K-mart. One of my sleazy little pleasures. We don't have one in town anymore, and I miss it. So I go to K-mart whenever I can. In fact, I probably wouldn't have agreed to go to New Ulm instead of the State Fair if there hadn't been a K-mart in New Ulm. Kyle and Troy were bored out of their skulls by the time I finished there, but I found tons of really cute shirts for Kyle for really cheap.

By this time, Kyle was talking big about seeing Hermann. He wanted to drive past him. So we did, but when we asked if he wanted to get out of the car, he freaked again. It's obviously a love affair from afar.

We went to Flandrau State Park next. Troy and Kyle went swimming for a little while, then we spent some time at the play area. Kyle made a new friend--a little girl named Chloe who is starting kindergarten in two days. They were having a blast filling her shoes with pebbles and dumping them onto the metal slide. It made a pretty cool noise. Kyle was sad to leave, but he wanted to drive past Hermann again. Not get out, just drive past. This time I got out and snapped a few pictures.

After that, we stopped for some ice cream at a little shop that sells home-made ice cream. Now, last time we offered ice cream to Kyle, he refused. (I swear, he can't be my child.) So we didn't buy any for him. But after a taste of Daddy's strawberry ice cream, he wanted his own pink ice cream cone. We got him a kiddie size, which we let him eat in the car. Holy mess, batman! He had rivers of ice cream streaming down his arms, even down his legs. He even managed to get ice cream on the front of his hat, which would periodically drip down onto his face.

As soon as we got home, he got a much needed bath.

So, it wasn't the State Fair, but it was still a pretty good day. Kyle had fun, and that was our goal.

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