"These are my children, Willow, Piper and [11-month-old] Trig," Palin told an excited group of Girl Scouts. Then Palin, 45, motioned to a baby bundled in a hoodie, held and bottle-fed by Piper. "And this is my grandbaby Tripp," she said of the infant son of her daughter Bristol, 18.
"He's only 2-months-old. It's kind of surreal!," she added.
Palin was taking a break from governing the nation's largest state to help Juneau's Girl Scout Troop 32 sell cookies after the group lost all for their previous proceeds in a robbery the week before. "I read about it in the newspaper and I said, 'Well, me and the kids have an hour on Saturday, let's go down and help,'" she explained. "This age is so precious."
Miniature Golf for BristolMissing from the Palin family group was Bristol, in the news after her split with Tripp's father Levi Johnston, 19. There's no mystery, though. "Oh, Bristol is over at the state capitol building golfing in a miniature golf tournament," Palin told PEOPLE. "It's a fundraiser and she's up there taking my place while I'm here."
"Bristol is doing great, just great!," Palin said.
During her hour and a half in the store, Palin, in jeans and purple down vest, walked the aisles urging shoppers to buy cookies while chatting with Girls Scouts clamoring to hold her hand. "Cool, she's our babysitter!" said one of the scout moms with a laugh. Palin responded with a laugh of her own: "I was so glad to leave the office for this fun thing."
Body After BabyPalin made several sweeps of the store ("Come buy cookies!) until she was diverted by an aisle of exercise equipment on sale. "Wait a minute, we need this for when it rains and I can't run," said the Governor, closely examining an elliptical trainer. PEOPLE asked Palin if she'd lost weight since the election. "I've lost weight since I had my baby," she said. "Thanks for noticing!"
Still, Palin chipped in for several boxes of cookies for her family. "I love the Thin Mints," she said. "But my daughters already told me I can't get those, that I have to get the Samoas. Well, you know what? We'll get both!"