Friday, July 20, 2012

Vacation Bible School

Our whole family played a role in our church's VBS:  Sonrise National Park.  We had a great turnout.  I didn't get the final count, but we had over one hundred kids at our church this week!

Andy was the emcee. 
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I helped out in the first grade class.  Curtis tagged along.  :)
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Bella returned for another year.  (Here they are learning the music and motions). 
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And Graydon joined a class for the first time.
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Thursday night was Parent's Night.  The kids all got up and sang the songs they'd been learning all week.
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Both did great!
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Bella and Graydon's classes sang the same songs.  This was my first time having to divide my attention between two kids on a stage.  I loved watching them sing.  And Curtis even sang along a little while sitting with me.  He became pretty familiar with the music after hearing it all week.

Tomorrow, we are heading back to Wisconsin!!!  The kids and I getting some bonus family time during this summer vacation.  Therefore, this blog might be a little silent over these next couple of weeks.  Better finish packing! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Minnesota/Wisconsin Vacation

"God gave us memories so that we might have roses in December."  
           ~ J. M. Barrie (author of Peter Pan)

Today I am thanking God for all of the wonderful memories we made during our two weeks with family.  I treasured this time and am so sad that it's over.  But I do have the memories, which are a gift in themselves.

The first stop on our mini-midwest tour began in Verona, WI.  We stopped at the home of Gaga and Papa and spent an evening eating brownies and ice cream while socializing with lots of the extended family.  Good company and good conversation.

The next morning, we were on our way to Minnesota to enjoy a week with the Meades!  We arrived in the early afternoon and the kids got to playing right away.
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The next day contained some more water fun.
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On our way to the splash pad, Curtis started screaming like I've never heard him scream before.  And it all came out of nowhere.  This lasted for the next 15 minutes or so until we discovered the culprit:  an eyelash in his eye.  When we got it out, he finally calmed down - though it did take him a bit to actually cheer up. 
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It did happen though!  He got out and played with some toys cars.  No water for this boy, but at least he was content again.
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This little guy didn't spend too much time in the water either.  He's not a big fan of water in his face.
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Bella, on the other hand, LOVES whatever form of water she can get.
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So did the Meade boys.
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This was also a special day because our littlest guy turned two!!!
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We played a little game of bingo. . .
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. . . ate some pizza. . . 
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. . . made some wishes. . .
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. . . ate some cupcakes. . .
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. . . opened some presents. . .
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. . . and topped it all of with music by the campfire. 
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Happy Birthday Curtis Michael!!!!

The following day brought us to St. Paul.  We went on a 1.5 hour riverboat cruise up and down the Mississippi River.  The weather was hot, but the breeze was nice.  Perfect day to be out on the water.  
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Saturday was soccer day for Jacob and Tyler!  I forgot my camera for that, but the kids enjoyed cheering on their cousins, getting soaked by fire hoses, jumping in bounce houses, and even getting their faces painted.  Such fun times!

After a day of relaxing at the house on Sunday, Monday morning arrived and it was time to say goodbye.  We LOVED our time in Minnesota and can't wait for our next visit.

Our journeys continued as we embarked on our next adventure:  Door County!  We arrived just in time to head out to dinner at Coyote Roadhouse in Baileys Harbor.  Afterwards, we sent back to our home for the next week.
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We celebrated Grandma Debbie's birthday that evening.  She had lots of helpers to blow out her candles!
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Jodi came prepared with craft projects for the kids.
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They made eagles on t-shirts using their handprints.
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And these festive hats!
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Love them!
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Grandma and Grandpa brought their bounce house, which is always a hit.
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We had some wine tasting.
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All of our wines were from a local winery.
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While the adults sipped their wine, the kids had snow cones made by Grandma!  These were quite popular throughout our hot week.
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The evenings cooled off just enough to make a fire bearable, almost.
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On the 4th of July, we went to Ephraim and cooled off at the beach.
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It was super shallow!
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The kids could go out for at least 150 feet and the water still only came up to their waists!
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This made for a much more relaxing time for everyone.
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Later that evening, we went to Egg Harbour for some fireworks.
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We managed to catch a few fireworks, but as the sun went down, the sky grew much darker - and not just because night was approaching.  Storm clouds were moving in fast and just as the real show was about to start, the winds picked up.  Everyone quickly began packing up their stuff in hopes of reaching their vehicles before the rain started.  Fortunately, we made it with plenty of time to spare.  We did get to watch a pretty neat lightning show on our way back to the cabin.

And then we tried to get a photo of all the cousins (minus Rose) in their holiday gear.  Easier said than done.
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In the midst of all our activity, there was still plenty of time for some rest and relaxation.  
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I was very pleased to see my dad sitting on the couch and looking through a book.  Both of my parents work very hard and I was glad to see them taking it easy for a little while (and even nodding off a bit!) 
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On our final evening in Door County, the kids enjoyed some post-bath sparklers!
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Morning arrived, and it was time to clean and pack.  But our fun times weren't quite over yet.  On our way back home, we made a stop in a little town called Green Bay!  Home of the Packers!!!
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We walked through the Hall of Fame and then went on a guided tour through the stadium.  Very cool. 
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From there, it was back to Kenosha for some pizza, a bit more family time, and then finally some sleep.  We all met up in the morning to see Jodi and Aaron's new house and then have some breakfast before hitting the road.  It was definitely hard for me to say goodbye.  This was such a fun vacation and time with family, I was just so sad to see it come to an end.  But, like I said at the top, I am so very thankful for all of our wonderful family memories.  And I can't wait to make some more!