August 7, 2015
No, it’s not what you think…we are still nomads, traveling the country. We have been gone 6 weeks now, but after a couple of nights at a hotel both Lance and I felt like getting back to our camper was coming home. It was a good feeling!!
On Wednesday, July 22nd we set up camp at a Jellystone Park in Caledonia, Wisconsin. We had been on the go for quite a few days in a row so we decided to spend a few nights in one place. If you ever need a place to camp with lots of fun activities right there without having to drive anywhere this place is it!! Water slides, water balloon fights, basketball, mini golf, pools, outdoor movies at night and lots of activities planned for kids. Lance worked for a couple of days while the kids and I enjoyed being busy having fun!!
Rose the Bathing Beauty
Sam with a bucket full of ammo…this kid loved the water balloon wars!
Elise and Rose poolside in their polka dot suits
One thing I have always loved about our neighborhood in Zeeland is the ability to say “Go out and play!” to our kids and knowing that they are busy playing with each other and neighbor kids, getting energy out, enjoying the great outdoors and most importantly (well, it’s up there anyway!!) they are NOT by me!! That might sound mean, but this momma needs a break every now and then and I’m not going to apologize for that! That’s what it was like at the Caledonia Jellystone. They were having so much fun playing basketball, swimming, having water balloon fights and making friends with fellow camping kids that I felt like it was a throwback to when we lived in a house, in a neighborhood. It was pretty fabulous!
Living in West Michigan, we are pretty spoiled with being 20 minutes to the Lake Michigan beach. During a “normal” summer we like to squeeze in as many evenings out at the beach as we can… swimming and playing in the sand….usually followed by a stop for ice cream at Captain Sundae. The sunsets over the lake can be so beautiful to watch and I have often thought “wouldn’t it be nice to see a sunrise over Lake Michigan”. Well, I got my wish! One morning Lance and I got up just before 5:00 to drive a couple of miles from the campground to a park on the Wisconsin shore. We enjoyed a little date with just the two of us, watching the sunrise over Lake Michigan. It was a lovely beginning to our day. We were almost directly across the lake from home, which I found made me a little homesick.
The beautiful sunrise over Lake Michigan
The blue dot on the map shows where we were watching the sunrise, almost due west of Holland, Michigan
Since we were staying less than two hours away from Chicago we decided to make a stop there. Our family has enjoyed a few great weekends in Chicago over the years and one place that the kids love to eat at is Ed Debevic’s. Well, they are closing (possibly moving) by the end of the year so it seemed like a good idea to have one more special meal there. My parents were able to meet us in Chicago and so we all spent a couple of nights in a hotel near the city. We have missed our dear families and friends the last six weeks so it felt pretty good to see my mom and dad, to talk and laugh face to face with lots of hugs thrown in for good measure! Sunday, July 26th we all went to Moody Church together. We had never been there before, but enjoyed it greatly. After church we had dinner at Ed Debevic’s. If you’ve never been there, it’s a 50’s style diner where the servers are intentionally rude to you. The first time Lance and I took our kids there we didn’t tell them ahead of time about the rudeness, we were curious how they would respond. Well, when Abby started crying because they were so rude to her we right away let them in on the secret! Now, they (especially Sam) like to prepare their material sometimes days in advance. Although, what 8 year olds consider hilarious sometimes can come across as just kind of corny (like telling our waiter he looks like a pretty girl, where are your hairbands girl?, you smell, you’re smelly, hey…bring me my food now!). Our waiter could take it just as well as he could give it. The kids laughed while being called little brats, brace-face (to Abby) and you bunch of little babies! After lunch we headed to the Shedd Aquarium. We watched the dolphin show, petted the sting rays, watched the penguins swim and saw lots and lots of “nish” (Ben’s word for fish). Then we headed back to the hotel for some swimming in the pool and pizza for supper. It was a great day.
Joe, Sam and Ben sporting their Ed Debevic’s hats
Petting Sting Rays at the aquarium
Ben with “Bapa” and “Mama”
The next morning we left the hotel and that’s when Lance and I both thought “it feels good to be home!” We hugged my parents good bye and took off for Des Moines, Iowa. On the way we needed to stop for gas and to feed Rosemary at just the right time for a visit to The World’s Largest Truckstop. It was a good place to stretch our legs and we had a lot of fun looking around.
Ben loved exploring the Big Rigs!
Rosemary trying on the fur caps
Sam with this guy behind him…you can’t see him because he’s camouflaged!!
This was Abby and Sam’s idea….can you spot the Rosemary??
We got to the campground mid-afternoon and set up camp, then headed into town to see the capital building. Up until this point, Kansas had been my favorite capital with the pretty grassy park all around it, but now my favorite is Iowa! The building was so interesting and beautiful to look at and the grounds around it were just as beautiful. There was a grassy slope in front of the capital peppered with various statues and perennial garden beds. If you faced away from the capital building you looked down the hill to the city of Des Moines. It was a pleasant evening and the sun was just starting to set. The stars also seemed to align with the kids playing so sweetly with each other…rolling down the hill and playing hide and seek. It felt like a moment to just soak it all up…family times like this are why we are doing this trip!
The gorgeous capital building
The city of Des Moines looking down from the capital.
The flag of this great nation with a beautiful sunset behind it. God bless the USA.
We stayed in Des Moines for the one night and then drove on to Kansas City. We stayed there a few nights while Lance worked at a customer there. Our site was in the perfect location in the campground…right between the basketball court/playground and swimming pool/jumping pillow. I loved being able to watch the kids play on the playground out the kitchen window, it seemed like we had the best backyard around!
Well, that’s all for this post…our next stop is Colorado!