So we are most of the way through the 2008 Family Vacation and Adventure Tour With a Wedding and Much Driving and a Big Surprise for the Girls. Needs a catchier title, but there you are. I'm going into point form mode; apparently I can say more. Right?
- drive to Minnesota: fun. The girls do travel awfully well. Some scary weather on the way with insanely heavy rain, hail, and a temp drop of 7C so fast it had us watching for funnel clouds. Spent our night on the road in Grand Rapids, Michigan, reconnecting with two very dear friends and enjoying the sunset over Lake Michigan. I had no idea they had such big sand dunes there.
- week before the wedding: fun. D got in several rounds of golf, I shopped a bit, spent a day at Mall of America, helped out as we could, and I had a muchly-enjoyed coffee time with Bean.
- wedding: fun. Beautiful bride, handsome groom, lovely service, family fun. My song for the couple was loved by them (and others, but the main audience - Bean and J - loved it and that's what mattered). Several quiet tears on my part, wishing (do I ever stop? No.) Josh was there with us.
- weather: wacky. Went from cool Canadian late spring to tornado warnings and scary looking skies over Minnesota, seeing the aftermath of high winds in Wisconsin, and outrunning severe thunder and rain in Illinois. Didn't stick around for the flooding in the midwest but did get into the heat wave of the eastern states.
- big surprise of the first week: email from Seren who has been watching the farm, to say the one remaining chicken was fine, but my garden was dug up by - wait for it - Honey, the presumed-eaten chicken. So the solo chicken is now two again. The question: where did she spend her time from Saturday to Thursday? Once again I wish they could talk.
- big surprise of the second week: springing two nights at Great Wolf Lodge on the girls. Oh, the looks on their faces when we sprung that one on them. We were in the huge lobby "to see what it looks like inside", and they were gawking at the lobby and the waterpark when D told them that we had booked the reservation two months ago. And oh, there's a MagiQuest too. The room was a huge hit with the built-in cabin for the kiddies. Two days of the biggest decisions being what to eat and what to play. Not bad.
- the journey home: driving today through the Poconos, past the Catskills, and into the Adirondacks. Very pretty. Took longer because we decided to ditch the interstates for a while, but led to us discovering a cute little town with a cute vintage diner where we had lunch with real, live, ice-creamy shakes. Mmmm. R wondered after one taste, "why don't they make them like this any more?"
- the field trip: a visit to a cave system in NY state, walking and seeing cave formations we'd learned about in science lessons. Beats a book. Tomorrow, continuing through the Adirondacks to a chasm explored by Champlain. So really, it's all part of the kids' education. Really.
I'll post photos later.