IMG_3008When it comes to the words “family vacation”, I’ve always wondered why “vacation” is used, at least, when the “family” involves children under the age of five.

Vacations before kids came along had a completely different meaning to me. Relaxation, exotic destinations, adventures with friends. Vacations with children includes only one of those words: adventure. Forget about relaxing, absolutely nothing comes remotely close to “exotic” and destinations nearly always involve family. Nothing wrong with that, at all, just…not exactly vacation-like.

This year’s “family vacation” was a step towards becoming more like a vacation than at any other time since D was born. Not sure if it’s because we met family we had never met before, went to a state that we’d never been to before, or because it involved the Mall of America.

Whatever the reason, when we were saying our Good-Bye’s with the family we were traveling with, we all agreed that this time around, our trip really did feel a little more like a vacation, the kind of vacation you actually have fun on!

We had been to Minnesota to visit family a few years back. This was D’s third trip to the Midwest and the first time for L. Both Hubs and I were quite impressed with how well the boys did on the plane ride to Minneapolis. I was thankful for the invention of the portable DVD player and Hubs was thankful we could all sit in the same row. Happiness from the get-go!

From Minneapolis we journeyed to the beautiful state of Wisconsin. Even though it was early August, we were very blessed with fantastic weather; the clouds were there but the humidity was low. Blessed! I was coming down with a cold – lovely – so I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the first meeting of our Wisconsin family members since I had to hold a Kleenex box the entire time and hope that D didn’t fall off the trampoline they had. I was remembering Lori’s tale of a kid with a broken leg on their family vacation…

After much prayer, an early bedtime, and a decent night’s rest, my cold had nearly vanished by Day 2 of the vacay. It was a great time of visiting with family and the highlight of our Wisconsin trip was spending some time in a houseboat on the Mississippi River!

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Since this was a family reunion weekend, we were blessed to have the boys’ grandparents there as well as their “Grandma Mira”, Hubs’ grandmother who lives in Sacramento.

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Mira is 91 years old in these pictures. Yep – you read that right. NINETY-ONE YEARS OLD!! She traveled to Wisconsin from California BY HERSELF and happened to ride a jet ski during her time on the river…I didn’t get a picture of that one. She is crazy-cool She still goes to her yoga class at least once a week. She sits on the floor with my kids and plays with them when they visit. She makes us a delicious lunch or dinner at a moment’s notice. Like I said, she’s crazy-cool!

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Both boys enjoyed the boat ride to the little beach area we traveled to, although L was a lot more hesitant at first than D. After awhile he got a little more curious and made his way out to watch the water. Along the way we caught a glimpse of the La Crosse Queen.

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Once we got to the beach, Uncle Ed prepped the jet ski with an inner tube of sorts and took various family around for the ride of their lives – fun! I would have loved joining in had I been feeling better but since we still had 5 full days ahead of us, I knew I should take it easy while I still could. See? There was some relaxing on this vacation!!

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Our first full day in Wisconsin enchanted all of us with its beautiful waters, big blue skies and of course, the boat. What better way to see the Mississippi River for the first time than on a houseboat? An adventure for all of us, no doubt!

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