Last month Lillian had spring break, and we went on a little vacation to Wisconsin. Originally the plan was for me and the kids to go with Steve's mom, but by the time the trip came around Steve and his dad were able to join us!
Of course I barely have any pictures, which makes me really sad. I have no idea why I can't just remember just take pictures of life. Busy living it I guess. :) but we did grab a few pictures that I'll post here for you all to see.
We started the trip with a few hours of sleep in OC. Tom (Steve's dad) came up on Friday to take the kids to OC so that I could pack up and finish a huge pinkadink order that had to be delivered in Sioux Center that next week. So I had a chunk of the day to myself to work, and then Steve got home at about supper time. It was still midnight before we were heading out though. Crazy how that happens.
So we slept a bit in OC and then in the morning took off for Wisconsin in "timmy," the Hydeen's full size van.
Every time I've driven to Racine with them we have stopped at LaCrosse at the lock and dam, or whatever it's called. So of course we stopped again, and let the kids get out for a bit to blow bubbles and stretch their legs.
We had to get a family picture before we left. Steve and I were reminiscing about the last time we had taken a photo there. It was after my junior year of high school when i went on vacation with his family and we stopped. After the picnic lunch, we took a few photos. here's the one of me and Steve then:
and here we are now:
and it feels like just yesterday that we were tan and skinny and childless. I wouldn't trade NOW for anything, but it's sure fun to let yourself think back on life when it was so easy, huh? I'm just so thankful for God's provision over us and his plan that we're still figuring out. These four people in the picture with me mean the WORLD to me, and I get to be with them every day. I'm just so darn blessed.
The kids were GREAT in the van. We drove like ten hours I think, or maybe 8? anyway, they RARELY fussed or asked when we'd get there. They respected each other's space for the most part, and I was just so proud of them for being such great travelers. And get this: when it was time for "quiet time" in the van, all I did was count down from 10 and then they had to be quiet. and it worked! They just stopped talking! It's so much more fun to do stuff together when we all work together. It was a great drive up there. and of courses we killed some of the time just taking pictures of each other. :)
After we got there, we got to have pizza with some family, since Steve's grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc, live there. Sunday we went to church and had a big lunch at Old Country Buffet afterward, because Grandma Shirley insists on spending all her money on everyone else. :)
Then, after church we got to head up to Milwaukee, just the five of us. We stayed at the Hilton there, which had a great big water park area for the kids to play in. Now, I'm not a huge fan of water if I'm being honest. It has something to do with the fact that when i was younger and living in CA, a little baby (18 mos) drowned in our family's backyard pool. And I also went to Christine Camping's birthday party at Raging Waters, and thought I was gonna die one time when I lost my tube and got to the little area between slides and had to keep bobbing up and down while all these big huge people on tubes were crashing into me and you get the point. So anyway, I'm not a huge water fan. But I thought with our super cautious kids and two grown ups to watch them, we'd be ok.
Lillian loved it all. She was off and down the slide in no time, but the other two took a while to warm up to the water, and the splashing, and the other people. At one point Lillian took off to go down a slide, while Steve followed Josiah up to the top for the millionth time before he chickened out. :) and while holding Brielle in the waist high water, I looked over and saw Lillian bobbing up and down just like I had to do at RW when I was little. EXCEPT there was a lifeguard right in the area who was watching her and not helping her at all. It must be because I'm her mom that I saw the TOTAL FEAR in her eyes that the lifeguard must not have noticed. Lillian was the only one in the whole area, and she had no idea that it was deeper than the bottom of the other slide. And her dumb parents didn't think to tell her because CAUTIOUS is one word that we thought described her perfectly. We didn't even think that she'd try a different slide without telling or asking us. But turns out she's getting older and braver, and just had no idea that it was deeper. Thank goodness she's tall. poor girl. She was being so brave and by the time I got to her she could touch a little better. So I acted all surprised and said, "WOW honey! you did that big slide all by yourself? are you ok? You were so brave! was it a little scary?" and that's when she lost it. Bawling in my arms about how scared it was. :( I felt like a horrible parent. :(
anyway, she got over that fear and eventually went down the same slide again but with daddy at the bottom to catch her.
Josiah wanted NOTHING to do with the water slides. We told him over and over that he'd love it if he just tried it, but he wouldn't do it until FINALLY he agreed to go with me. So we went down and sure enough, that was all it took for him to go alone and love it. over and over and over. :)
Brielle wasn't a big fan even by the end. She mostly just wanted to be right by mommy and try to go potty in the bathroom like ten times. She finally found a fountain thing that she loved, and played in that for a bit. I think her favorite part was supper at the canteen. :)
I think the very best part of the night for me was after all the swimming and eating and such, we went back up to our room, got in our pjs, and watched the new version of Les Miserables on public telelvision. Unfortunately we didn't get to see the whole thing, but there was something about sitting there with our kids, having them enjoy something we've loved together for 13 and a half years just as much as we do, singing the songs, asking questions, all of it. It was so great. so "us."
In the morning we headed back for a bit more time with family. It was really fun to just do the "racine things" like go to the lake, play the player piano, and hang out together.
We left on Tuesday just in time to make it to LaCrosse again by suppertime. We were able to grab some pizza and eat at our friends' house! We knew the Rismas from church in Omaha, and I took care of Nolan every day for about a whole school year. We loved that sweet little boy so much, but schooling took them to LaCrosse for now, and Iowa City in the future. We sure miss him around here, but we were so glad to be able to see that sweetie again. :)
Eventually we made it home to Omaha (on Wed night). And the best part of coming home? Steve still had a few days off so we buckled down and got a bunch of stuff done, like organizing and redoing the backsplash and lots of other fun and productive stuff.
It's been a hard few months for our family with Steve's new job. We don't see each other all that much, and quite frankly, I just missed our family. our family together.
This week of vacation and just TIME together was so special. but of course, now we just really can't wait til the next one!