I'd like to be able to tell you that I fly off to some place warm and sunny with blue waters and sandy beaches a few times a year, but I don't. I have a lot of other things I like to do and a lot of people I like to see, so I tend to use my vacation time and my money on the smaller trips. The trips to Iowa for family reunions, the trips up north for camping, 4-wheeling, or just relaxing in a cabin in the woods.
For our honeymoon, we spent almost a week enjoying the wonderful and welcoming family cabin of my sister's husband's family up north near Minocqua, Wisconsin. We had a fantastic time enjoying the wilderness, paddling out on the beautiful lake, swimming, shopping in the quaint little towns, watching a lumberjack show, go-kart racing, and riding our motorcycle through the northern woods. We enjoyed dinner at a restaurant called Polecat & Lace and a drink (or rather a few!) at an irish pub called T. Murtaugh's Pub & Eatery. That's closer to our typical vacation than just lying on a beach some place sipping margaritas, although I wouldn't complain about a vacation like that either!
For our wedding anniversary each year, we do try to get away and do something fun together - just the two of us. One year we went up to Madeline Island for a long weekend, stayed at a big and beautiful bed & breakfast, went on a freezing cold and rainy boat tour of the Apostle Islands, spent a day sitting on a quiet beach that we had all to ourselves, ate at every restaurant on the island, saw an incredible and very very strange "fire show", hung out at Tom's Burned Down Cafe where we saw cavemen and puppet shows, and watched the island's 4th of July parade and fireworks. That was a great trip.
Another year we stayed in a KOA Kamp Kabin near Black River Falls and brought the 4-wheelers up for some redneck fun. We rode the four-wheelers all through the woods, stopping at local bars along the way for refreshments and food. It wasn't all crazy four-wheeling though, we also spent an afternoon soaking up the sun at the campground pool and enjoying ice cream sundaes. We even watched an unofficial barefood waterski practice on a farmer-made lake in the middle of a farm field. They even tried to ride a snowmobile across their lake - the snowmobile didn't make it, and they ended up having to "tow" it out of the lake with a 4-wheeler, That was certainly entertaining. We happened to also hit Black River Falls' town festival while we were there. While in town, we got something to eat and spotted a pedal-operated picnic table complete with a built in cooler. There were 8 or 10 people sitting around it pedaling it around town, having a great time. Now, why haven't we built one of those yet???
I think the last anniversary trip we took was to Wisconsin Dells, where we raced go-karts, shopped, ate our share of German fare at Essen Haus, did the Duck Boat tour, and yes, went to a water park. We even had an old time picture taken with me in fishnet stockings and a feathered hat and Cliff posing with an old rifle.
I admit, however, that we haven't gone anyplace for the last few years since I was first pregnant, then I had an infant, and then this year we thought we'd have to work that weekend due to the MNA nurses' strike. We didn't go anywhere and we didn't end up having to work, so we did end up having a nice fourth of July / Anniversary weekend at home and enjoyed the time to recoup from the recent stresses at work and give our yard a little long overdue TLC. More on that later!
So, although it's been a long while since we've sipped margaritas on a sunny beach and we've never strolled through paris's night lights, or scuba dived in the great barrier reef, we do have fun when we're on vacation and we really do enjoy quick little weekend trips to visit family and friends.
This summer Gavin and I seem to be doing a fair amount of traveling together. We went down to Kansas in June with my friend Carrie to visit my sister Kristin. We had a really good time. Vacation isn't quite the same with a toddler in tow, but we had fun and it was a nice pace to share with Kristin, who was 7 months pregnant! Gavin really is a good traveler, and didn't complain too much about the nine hour trip down there. It would have been seven hours if we had driven straight through, but we stopped a couple of times for bathroom breaks, snacks, and to stretch our legs a little. Having our friend Carrie along was so wonderful! She's a fun and easy-going travel partner and was really helpful when it came to keeping Gavin entertained and keeping an eye on him when we were in unfamiliar territory. As always, Kristin's home was welcoming and comfortable. When we got there, we all laid down for naps until Kristin got home from work. We spent the evening catching up, playing with Gavin, and enjoying dinner together of delicious BLT's and salads.
Gavin seemed to be wired and was not ready to fall asleep at 8:00 like he usually does. It may have been the strange surroundings or it may have been that I was in the room with him, but he played in his pack 'n' play for over an hour. When I finally decided to leave the room in hopes that he'd then go off to sleep, he cried. But, he did fall asleep. Overall, he slept pretty well, although he did wake up a couple of times during the night while we were there. He was usually quick to go back to sleep, but was once up for an hour before falling back to sleep. At least he doesn't cry during the night like he did when he was littler. Now, he just checks to see if I'm there and lays back down... or whispers "Mom" at me until I look at him. One time I woke up to him standing in his pack & play, peering over the side and stroking my hair. What a doll.
Saturday we enjoyed our morning coffee in Kristin's living room while rearranging her furniture. She wanted to make her living room feel more open and not have the loveseat to close to the fireplace. We tried a few options and it turned out perfect! All she needed now was a big area rug, which we found later that weekend for a measley $50 at a cool rug & fabric store. It's an awesome rug and the price was unbeatable. It was exactly what the room needed!
It was such a nice and relaxing weekend with my sister, my friends, and my favorite little boy!