It’s finally here. The end of March. The final days of a crazy-full month that I was sure would bring sickness to one of us by this time. I am happy to report that all 4 of us have weathered the month quite well, although 3 weeks of crazy followed up with a 9-hour car ride lent for one of our more “I can’t wait to get out of this car!” experiences yet!
We headed up to Oregon on Friday for a visit with my parents, which included playing in the remaining snow in the backyard the second the boys were released from their carseats.
The weather warmed up and the rain came and went. My mom and I took the boys to The Science Factory in Eugene. It was a “good effort” in terms of what they offered, but we didn’t think we would be bringing them back anytime soon. There were some interesting displays and it’s possible the boys just needed to be a bit older to really enjoy it much. It wasn’t as “hands on” as I was hoping for.
Yes, it’s true. I’m still talking about our summer vacation and I figure I better tell the rest of the story before we get to next summer!
Let’s see, our first few days were spent in the beautiful state of Wisconsin. Then we had a nice time visiting Grandma Clara in the quaint little town of Blue Earth, Minnesota.
Before we ended our trip, we were able to take a drive over to Whittemore, Iowa to spend the day with cousin Joe and his wife Judy. They are in their 70’s and they live in the same house that Judy was born and raised in.
I love visiting farms. I know they are immensely hard work. I know there is all kinds of bad weather to contend with (usually) with farm life. But I also know that I love seeing my boys on a farm. The wide open spaces, all kinds of things to explore, the wide open spaces…I’m not a farmer’s wife but I still have farm dreams for my family!
After spending 2 days in the lovely state of Wisconsin, it was time to head over to Minnesota. This is where we would spend the bulk of our time in the Midwest and thankfully the weather was absolutely perfect, considering it was August. I was fully prepared to suffer through a hot, sticky week just so my boys could spend a few hours with their beloved Grandma Clara. It would be well worth it.
In Wisconsin I introduced you to Grandma Mira, who recently turned 92. That’s the same age that Grandma Clara happened to be the winter she had a severe stroke. Up until that time she lived on her own in a 2-story home across the street from the John Deere tractor supply company that her only husband of 5 years used to operate. They married when Clara was in her 50’s and had 5 good years before Ed died of a heart attack.
Clara is Hubs’ great-aunt, but she’s always been known as Grandma Clara to us. She is 99 years young, still wears her darling wedding ring and remembers to send birthday cards. She is an amazing woman and we are so blessed to have her in our lives!
When 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!
Summer is in full swing for my little family! The heat has finally kicked in, the squishy pool has made its way out of the garage and into our backyard, and the first of several vacations has already come and gone.
By the way, before children, the word “vacation” typically involved roller coasters, cruise ships, cotton candy, first experiences in new destinations. The word “vacation” would include times of rest, leisure, refreshment.
Not so much now.
I can’t use the word “trip” when talking about visiting family and friends because that sounds too much like a business meeting or something. I can’t say “get away” because we definitely are not getting away from the CHILDREN. And I can’t say “holiday” because I’m not European. So, vacation it is – I just felt the need to clarify that for some reason.