"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Following Laura: Part II

I have been so busy getting ready for our school year, and trying to unpack a few more boxes, and staying caught up on my paying job, that I just haven't had time to share more of our vacation ... but I must, because we had such a good time (and I need a record for myself, too!).

Not wanting to move around too often, we had decided to stay in each locale for two full days. Having visited all of the Laura sites in Wisconsin, we stayed on the Minnesota side of the Mississippi for Day 3.

We hiked at Frontenac State Park.

We rode a genuine replica 1800s paddle wheeler.

beautiful Lake Pepin

It was crowded,
but The Baby found a great spot under the table.

And then she made some new friends.

And the three older kids all got to drive for a while.

We picnicked in a city park and fed the ducks.

And we visited LARK Toys and rode a hand-carved basswood carousel
(probably the coolest carousel I've ever seen).

Miss Rose and her unicorn

Miss Sunshine's steed

a Boy and his Dragon

The Baby wasn't too sure about this ginormous bunny.

But she warmed up to him by the time the ride was over.

We finally headed back to the hotel for a quick swim,

and some bedtime reading.

Stay tuned for more ...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Following Laura: Part I

It was crazy, but it was great.

And much needed.

The first vacation in seven years that neither my DH nor I
brought our computers or any work.

We moved into our new home on July 30 and left for vacation a week later. Instead of unpacking boxes, I spent the first week in our new home trying to find what I needed in those boxes for our ten-day trip -- bathing suits and towels, camping equipment, stuff to bake goodies to bring with us, car games, and on and on and on -- and we didn't have a washer and dryer hooked up yet either!

A fitting conclusion to our studies of Laura Ingalls Wilder, our trip consisted of visits to three of the places she called home. Day One was spent driving from Bismarck to Wabasha, Minnesota, with a stop for a late lunch in the Twin Cities with Papa and Gramma on the way. While driving, we listened to Little House in the Big Woods -- that is, until the radio went out on our van. The little house about which Laura wrote was located approximately seven miles north of Pepin, Wisconsin. Because I couldn't find any camping accommodations near Pepin when I was planning our trip at the last minute, we ended up staying at the AmericInn in Wabasha, right across the river. We arrived in time for the kids to swim in the hotel pool before snacks and bed.

The next morning we headed to The Little House Wayside, seven miles north of Pepin, to visit a replica cabin built on the site where Laura was born.

It was a beautiful morning for a drive in the woods (and cornfields) of Wisconsin, and the kids had fun climbing in the loft and imagining what it would have been like to spend long winter days playing there.

Next we headed to Lake Pepin for a picnic lunch and to gather pebbles, just like Mary and Laura did on their first visit to Lake Pepin. In addition to pebbles, some of the kids were more excited than others to find feathers and fish bones.

After lunch, we visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Pepin, which features items related to Laura and the era in which she lives.

(photo courtesy of Miss Rose)

Then we headed back to Pepin's marina and beach. It was too windy for swimming, and the beach was closed, but the kids played in the sand and water, and we walked down the fishing pier and scared the seagulls.

We ended the evening at Pizza on the Farm. This was a first for us. Created by two local farmers, every ingredient for the pizzas they make is grown on their property. They're only open one night a week, and all they provide is the (fabulous) pizza -- patrons bring their own plates and silverware, beverages (wine and beer, if you want), and blankets and chairs to spread on the grounds.

We enjoyed our pizza with my uncle and aunt who live in the area, and the kids wandered around looking at the animals while we waited.

We had so much fun, I think I need to find a Bismarck farmer who wants to do the same!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


New House

New Shoes

New Appliances

New 'do

New Phone

New Plans

New Parts for our Van

And that, my friends, is where August went.
Stay tuned for more ... how our vacation was spent.

P.S. It was fabulous.

P.P.S I missed you.