By Thursday, June 28th, I decided to pack up the car and get ready for our long drive. We said goodbye to Dave, Zamboni, and Fred (the turtle) and left around 3:00 PM... and then got stuck in traffic two hours later. We were stuck for over two hours and barely moved.... the kids were fine and great travelers... it was just me that was frustrated. Apparently some bridge was out somewhere (not many signs giving us directions or detours)... so my GPS took me on a detour that eventually got us around the mess. We didn't make it as far as we wanted but at least we were five hours closer by the time we stopped for the night.
The next day we got up and had a great breakfast at Bob Evans. Brennan LOVED that place!!!! It was a long day of driving (for me- again the kids were great)... we hit a few more detours, heavy traffic, a very dark storm, and more detours but finally arrived at Leah's house in Aurora, Illinois by night. I was so happy to get out of the car!!! I don't think I want to make that trip by myself for awhile again!!! Driving it five times by myself in the last year is more than enough!!! Dave will be helping me with the drive home, so now I can rest easy!
|Leah and DeAnna|
Friends since seventh grade
|We love Leah's pool!|
We enjoyed Leah's small pool, watched some movies, and went to a great place for pizza in a nearby town. We also walked around this cute park that was built along a small river. It was beautiful!
|Brennan, Chris, Matt, and Kate|
|Brielle and Kate|
Kate and I stayed with Britt and her family in Madison and Brennan stayed with Wendy, Dan, and Norman. We were all together for the daytime fun though! Kate was so excited to see Brielle and the two of them were as cute as ever! Baby Alyssa (17 months) was so cute and I enjoyed playing with her!
In Madison, we enjoyed some pool time at a pool that Norman has membership rights to. It had a super kiddy pool that Kate especially enjoyed. Our pool day was mostly Norman, Kate, Brennan, and me and then later Wendy joined us. It was a great day! In the evening we met up with Britt and Brielle at Ella's Deli for dinner and then the girls rode the carousel. We said goodbye to the boys (and Wendy) and Britt and I took the girls to Dream Park in Madison. Next to the park, there just happened to be a small carnival complete with a few rides. We let the girls choose two rides to go on and their favorite was the small roller coaster. By the time we got home, it was time for bed. On Tuesday we went to the zoo. This time it was Norman, Kate, Brennan, Brielle, and myself at the zoo. Brielle showed us around and we got some cute pictures. After we were all melting from the extremely hot day, we went to the beach across the street where Britt and Alyssa joined us. Kate and Brielle played, Alyssa splashed around and loved the water, and Brennan and Norman attempted to catch fish by hand (with a little toy net). Brennan actually caught one and was the talk of the beach! The lifeguards couldn't believe he did it!!!
|Brennan and Uncle Dan|
|Uncle Norm and Brennan|
|At Ella's Deli in Madison|
|At the park- these are their dance moves|
|More fun at the park|
|The fun roller coaster ride!|
|Fishing in Madison with Wendy and Norman|
|And more fishing...|
|At the Dane County Zoo|
|Train ride at the zoo|
|rain ride after the carousel ride|
|Two adorable flamingos|
|Not quite tall enough...|
|We especially loved watching the giraffe!|
|The fish Brennan caught with his toy net|
|Britt and Brielle|
|The polar bear at the zoo|
|Brennan's net of fish|
|A close up view of the fish|
|My mom with two of her really good|
|Kate with grandma and grandpa- ready for the parade!|
|Watching the parade in Eagle River|
|The traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall-|
It was 3/5 of the original size and so cool
that Eagle River had it on the fourth of July!
|Getting ready to swim in the river|
|On the boat going to see|
On July 5th, we got back in the car for our short two hour trip to Rothschild to meet a great college friend (Janice) and her kids. We went to the Cedar Lodge Grand Resort Water Park, which was beautiful! Our room was so spacious and the park was great! Brennan and Adam ran off together and were fast friends once again. It's been so nice that we've been able to meet up for the last three summers! Kate enjoyed time with her youngest, Logan, but Kate was a little more cautious and spent most of her time in the kiddy area while Logan was ready for the big water slides that he was tall enough to ride! I especially got a kick out of Logan (who is only four years old- although almost five) and his determination! He hauled his own inner tube up the five flights of stairs and wanted to ride the big slide all by himself! He was amazing! Kate enjoyed the smaller slides and was so proud of herself. Lisa and her son Brady joined us the next day. It was great because we all took turns hanging with Kate, or going with the bigger boys on some of the slides, or even a few times all in the same pool for short periods of time. We decided to take a little break from all the water fun and went to see the movie Brave in the afternoon. It was a really cute movie and Kate was so into it! Poor Brennan may have fallen asleep in parts because he was so tired. Lisa bought some delicious sandwich makings and salads for dinner and we enjoyed every morsel of food. The kids then enjoyed some time in the arcade. We got our money's worth the next day with a delicious buffet (thanks Janice) and some more water fun, arcade fun, and ice cream. Kate took a nap both days in the very loud water park- she loved taking a break and having me rock her to sleep. We had so much fun!! I love my friends and their kids!!! We've been friends since 1986 and still have so much fun together and laugh about our college years!
|Having fun at the Wausau |
|Taking a break for dinner|
|Kate sleeping in the very|
loud water park
|Crazy Lisa always makes us laugh!|
|"Here- hold this Brady!"|
|Our marshmallow roasting champ!|
|Ivo's first S'more|
|Did Brennan actually see the Falls|
or was he too busy looking for fish?
|Norman and our good friend|
Maartje from Amsterdam
|Grandpa and Kate at the Falls|
|Bond Falls in Upper Michigan|
|Kate and Wendy|
|And of course Brennan|
| Ivo, Steve, Norm, Kate, DeAnna, Wendy, Dan|
Brennan, and Maartje at Bond Falls
|Ivo and Maartje (brother and sister)|
|And he caught a fish|
|And another one...|
On July 9th we went out on the boat for most of the day. Kate stayed behind with Grandma and Grandpa. Brennan and Norman tried catching fish again at Eagle Beach and were both successful! We all enjoyed a lazy day filled with sunshine, a little reading, and great company. On the way back, Brennan went behind the boat in an inner tube for the entire ride home (which was about four lakes). He LOVED it! We were all sad to say goodbye to Maartje, Ivo, Norman, Dan, and Wendy who had to head back to Madison. The house seemed so quiet after they left!
On July 10th, Brennan was so excited to go fishing with Dave who is a friend of mom and Steve and lives across the street. They must have fished for about seven hours and had a great time together! Brennan caught a big northern and many other types of fish. They didn't get back until after 10:00 PM and then wanted to talk fish for another hour! I think Brennan has finally met someone who loves fishing just as much as him!!! While they were fishing, Kate stayed with Grandpa and mom and I headed downtown to try to get some raffle prizes for a friend. We were successful and got six more prizes that can be raffled off on Sunday. After we were done, we stopped at the Tipsy Turtle for a snack and a drink and then Grandpa and Kate joined us so we decided to go ahead and have dinner.
Today (July 11th) we've all been lazy. Brennan went to help "Fishing Dave" install an air conditioner so they could go out fishing again. I updated my blog, paid a few bills, and organized a little. Kate and I walked to the store and then Steve, Mom, Kate, and I went to the VFW for their $5.00 hamburgers. After hamburgers we went to get our 49 cent ice cream cones from McDonald's and then took our nightly drive looking for deer. Brennan came home around 7:30 PM happy with his day's catch. Life is great in the north woods... although we wish Dave and Zamboni could be with us!!! We miss them so much! Kate got teary eyed several times today because she missed her daddy! So sweet!
|Norm was captain for the day!|
|Looking a little sleepy...|
|Wendy is freezing while Maartje|
thinks the weather is perfect!
|Still looking sleepy...|
|Waking up a little...|
|Totally awake and ready to try|
to catch some fish!
|Tubing back to the house|
|A quiet moment spent on the porch|
|Singing Karaoke on the porch|
|Our favorite bartender and|
good friend Bobbi who happens
to be 93 years old!
|Fishing Dave with some of the fish|
Brennan and he caught