Friday, July 15, 2022

High Five for Madison (7.15.22)


I need to begin this post by noting that our summer vacation didn't start off smoothly. It's a LONG story, but the gist of it is that we couldn't leave town when we had originally planned to do so - we had to schedule an appointment in College Station for midway through the day on which we had planned to leave at 4:30am - so we only made it to Joplin, Missouri on day one (we had hoped to make it to the west side of St. Louis). Because of this, we weren't able to meet my sister and her family at St. Louis' famous City Museum. This was definitely a bummer, but we regrouped, put in really long(ish) days in the car on Friday and Saturday, and made it to my sister's house in Washington, Illinois in time for a quick swim and dinner on Saturday. 

The weather wasn't exactly great for swimming, but we had a great walk to the pool and the kids (and Tom) still swam for quite a while. After swimming we ordered dinner from our favorite Italian restaurant and spent hours playing outside (kids) and sitting on the porch and catching up (grownups), after not seeing each other in person for a full year.

It was on this night that (National Tumbling Champion) Carter taught Will how to do a backflip. They both felt very accomplished.

The following morning we hit the road for Madison. The boys left at 5:30am in order to make it in time for the first throw of the final day of the Women's Disc Golf National Championship, which was being held in Madison that weekend. They spent the day watching the sport's superstars, and they even made it on television a couple of times!

The rest of us left at a much more reasonable hour and spent the afternoon walking down by the lake, playing at the playground, and sorting through a few boxes my mom had recently pulled out of the attic. 

It still fits! Sort of...I could zip it up
but I couldn't really take a deep breath. 

It was still a little big for Hallie.

Lily also dressed up as a one of the adult-sized
angel costumes my mom made for me, my friends, Sara, and
her friends one Halloween while we were all in college.)

We pulled this project of mine out of the attic, and after reading it, put
it out for the recycling. Hallie found it and insisted on bringing it back in -
even though it had been raining - so she could learn more about volcanoes. 


Though different from our 4th of July celebrations past, this year's holiday still felt festive. We spent the morning outside, watching (and participating in) the neighborhood parade, and then the boys went disc golfing while the girls went shopping at a few of stores we always try to visit while in Madison. It started to rain a couple of hours before the fireworks were scheduled to start, so we skipped the big show in favor of sparklers at home. (Note for the future: buy new sparklers every year. They can "go bad". 😂)

We've spent almost every 4th of July for the last 15 years in Minocqua, Wisconsin with Tom's family. A few months ago, however, Tom's parents sold their Minocqua lake house, so our summer vacations to the Lincoln Lodge and this quaint touristy town have come to an end. It was hard to say goodbye, and we missed some of our usual traditions, like swimming in and fishing on Booth Lake and s'mores by the campfire, but the memories of those years live on.


Our most significant outing during our week in Madison was to Devil's Lake State Park, where we first hiked up and down the "mountain" (mountain is a relative term when we're talking about Wisconsin compared to, say, Colorado) and then spent a few hours swimming in and paddle boarding and kayaking on the lake. We finished up the day with AMAZING Wisconsin ice cream...Wisconsin has its flaws, but ice cream isn't one of them. The kids had a fantastic time - Will even asked if we could do this every year, so yes, we'll be doing this every year from here on out.



Actually meditating.

Who is this handsome young adult?!

We had a few snafus on this adventure, the most significant of which was the keys to Sara's van (on one side of the lake) getting locked in my parents' car (on the other side of the lake). My dad and I rented a two-person kayak, which we rowed across the lake with the keys to my parents' car in tow. I unlocked the car and drove it (and the keys to Sara's van) back to the other side of the lake, but that left my dad to row the double kayak back across the lake by himself. It sounds comical wasn't funny then. 😂

He made it back!


We spent another day on Lake Mendota in Madison, waterskiing and tubing. We gave my dad a new tube for his birthday, and it was PERFECT for the kids; they're all old and brave enough to go just about as fast as the boat can tow them, and it was so fun to watch my dad - an expert driver (he's been throwing kids off tubes for decades) - try to throw them off at their request. 

Note the bow as he lets go of the rope and goes down.

Of note, for the pics and video below:
- It's really hard to film and take photos while riding on the boat because you can't see the phone screen in the sun. Please forgive my camerawork. 
- I can't tell the difference between my voice and my sister's voice. Weird.
- We tubed all of the different pairs of kids together: Will and Hallie, Lily and Carter, Hallie and Lily, Will and Carter, Hallie and Carter, and finally, Will and Lily. Hallie and Carter - the second-borns - loved going fast, but are both the kind of kids who get on the tube and say, "I just hope we both have fun." They smiled and laughed their way through their rides, especially their ride together. But when it was Will and Lily's turn to ride together...those two first-borns climbed on with a mission to DOMINATE that tube and "in it to win it" was written all over their faces. Birth order is such a funny "science"... 


Here are a few other happy moments and experiences during our trip!
Playing in the rain:

Lunch and pedicures:

Visiting the Henry Vilas Zoo:

The 19th Hole at the Union:

And a few miscellaneous:
Found them!!!

Sweet Bill 😍

Learning how to drive a stick shift. 

The birthday boys.

We're kind of tired after such a crazy week of trying to cram in everything we wanted to do, but it was worth it! Happy weekend, friends!

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