My father-in-law always uses - and as a result Will and Hallie now regularly use - the phrase, "hit the road, like a toad". It works as the title for today's post, since tomorrow the kids and I will do just that when we depart on our fifth annual month-long summer escape to Wisconsin. We plan to spend a week with Tom's family at the Lincoln Lodge in Minocqua, a week in Madison with my parents, a few days at my sister's house in Illinois, and then a final week in Madison before we return home at the end of July.
I'm looking forward to:
- Spending time with family, lounging on the lake, visiting our favorite brewery, playing bean-enhanced versions of Uno and Sorry, reenacting our favorite movies, and celebrating the 4th of July at the Lodge.
- Spending time with family, visiting the zoo, swimming in the lakes, eating breakfast at the Farmers' Market, shopping at the outlet mall, joining the 19th hole at the Union, and holding our final - after annual and biannual for nearly 30 years - garage sale ever (we think) in Madison.
- Visiting my sister and her family in Illinois, and while we're there, eating at my new favorite Italian restaurant and lying in her perfect grass.
- Indulging in Rocky Rococo's pizza, Greenbush Bakery's donuts, and Babcock ice cream.
- And last but not least, the (hopefully) cooler-than-Texas' weather, especially the 60-degree evenings and 50-degree nights in Northern Wisconsin.
The kids (primarily Will, as Hallie didn't really feel like weighing in when asked) are looking forward to:
- Riding on Grandpa Mike's Mario Kart.
- Playing on Grandma's iPad.
- Riding roller coasters at Little America and water slides at Mt. Olympus.
- Water skiing and tubing on Lake Mendota.
- Fishing on Booth Lake.
- Playing disc golf, playing soccer, swimming, sword fighting, jamming, gym-ing, garage sale-ing, and borrowing books from the little libraries.
For the most part, traveling has become easier as the children have grown older. In one way, however, leaving home has become more difficult. Now, compared to four years ago when we first spent the month of July in Wisconsin, we have more to miss. Saying goodbye to our friends for such a long period of time - especially during "play date season" - gets harder and harder every year.
Taking this trip means a great deal to us, however. Tom and I want to help Will and Hallie understand and appreciate where we came from and how we were raised. We want them to know their extended family members - their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins - better than the hundreds of miles that normally separate them might predict. We want them to spend time where our childhoods played out, to see our houses and swim in our lakes and play at our parks and feed our goats at the zoo (though I can't bear to tell them that the goats I fed as a little girl have all passed away and been replaced a few times over by now). We want to connect their childhoods to ours, their roots to our roots, so off we go.