Friday, July 29, 2016

Swimming lessons

It was another great year of swimming lessons for the girls--Abby did hers in June.  She did another round of level 2 in the winter, since last year, her teacher wrote that she needed to work on her endurance a little more before level 3.  She passed just fine, so did level 3 this summer.  It was a lot tougher--swimming further distances and learning how to dive.  Not surprisingly, she didn't pass level 3, so will work on that again this winter and next summer some more.  She still had fun and is hoping to redeem her free swimming pass before it expires this month!

Norah and I had our last-ever "Tadpoles" swimming class where parents swim with their kids.  Another "last" for our family--sad!  She loved every minute of it, except when they had a different teacher on Tuesday and they didn't sing any songs.  She learned how to swim with a kickboard and pool noodle without me holding onto her and grew confident in jumping in the pool without holding hands.  She is definitely a little fish!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Watermelon Day/Adventureland

Last weekend was another busy one!  We headed down Saturday morning to Watermelon Day in Stanhope.  The weather was perfect for being outside all day.  We saw the parade, then worked a shift at the ring toss (well, Norah went on rides with Sarah and Gavin while the rest of us worked!).

Abby and I snuck out early to have lunch at Lori and Jon's.  The girls enjoyed the rides, duck pond, ring toss, and some Bingo.  We took a break mid-afternoon and watched Frozen with Erin.  My dad took off before supper, and afterward, we got slices of pizza to bring back to Lori's.  There weren't too many family members still left hanging around, but we did get to try some archery with Lynsey and Robby and go Pokemon hunting with Erin before the big drawing at night.

We spent the night at Miriam's, then went to church/lunch at the community center in Stanhope on Sunday.  After a very relaxing afternoon at Miriam's, we headed down to Mara's to spend the night.  The girls were excited about some pre-bedtime water balloons!

Monday, we met up with Miriam, Scott, Gavin, Sarah, Lea Ann, Kendra, Mara, and Connor at Adventureland.  We had a great time going on rides, eating lunch at the magic show (our tradition!), and finished off with a nice cool-off visit to the water park.  After such a fun weekend with family, we were happy that we still had Door County to look forward to!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Walnut Grove

The girls and I continued our tour of Laura Ingalls Wilder sites this summer with a visit to Walnut Grove with the Clarks.  We had a great time at a family festival in the park, where we ate a picnic and they had several crafts for the kids to do.

After that, we visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in town.  The kids enjoyed going through the buildings, which were replicas of what a church, schoolhouse, etc. would have looked like in Laura's time.  They especially enjoyed playing "store" and "post office" in one of the buildings.

One last stop before heading to our campsite was the dugout site by Plum Creek.  The actual dugout isn't there anymore, but there is an indentation and a sign marking the spot.  The biggest hit at this spot was playing in Plum Creek--it was perfect for a warm day and it was hard to tear the kids away!

We then drove to our campsite at Lake Shetek State Park to set up camp for the night, since we knew it was going to be a late night after the pageant.  I decided we didn't need a rain fly, since the forecast I had checked at home said a 1% chance of rain...that would prove to be a mistake in the end!

Back in town, we ate supper at the community center, where a local church serves a meal each pageant weekend.  Then we headed to the pageant.  Our seats were great, and the night was perfect with a cool breeze.  Everyone loved the show, and surprisingly, even Norah did well and stayed awake through it (it was a late one--9-11!).  Of course, all of the kids quickly conked out on our drive back to our campsite.

Unfortunately, around 3:30 in the morning, I woke up to flashing lights...lightning!  Thank goodness there was time to quickly go out and put the rain fly on the tent, because it started storming no more than 5 minutes after I had set it up.  We had kids who were awake (all except Norah) and a long night/morning.  We had breakfast in the tent and the kids played for a little while, before we just decided to pack up in the rain.

After we got loaded up, we went for a drive around the park and decided to stop for a quick hike to/around Loon Island (it had finally stopped raining!).  We would have loved to go to the swimming beach, too, but it was just too chilly and almost time for lunch.

Our last stop before heading home was Nellie's Cafe in Walnut Grove, where we enjoyed Nellie burgers.  Looking forward to our next Laura trip!

Friday, July 8, 2016


Dave planned a camping trip for this summer--our first time camping multiple nights and the first opportunity to use the new tent we got him for his birthday.  We stayed for three nights, and had a great campsite with a spot for our tent that was sheltered by trees in its own little area away from the fire/picnic table.  We did have some rain when we first got there, and then more on Thursday/Friday morning, but otherwise it was perfect!  We had a nice day to hike, check out the headwaters and play in the water there, and swim and play at the beach of Lake Itasca.  The weather was a little cooler the next couple of days, so perfect for climbing the fire tower and checking out the visitor center.  We visited the headwaters often, and it was especially nice in the evenings when there were hardly any people around.  Thursday night was rainy, so we ate pizza at the cafe (they also had great ice cream!) and had our hot dogs over the campfire for lunch the next day.  We were thankful for a purchase Dave had made right before the trip--a pop-up shelter to put around the picnic table.  It was a great place to cook/eat meals and play games.  All in all, we had a great time and can definitely see ourselves visiting this park again someday!