A little advance warning – this is going to be a long post with lots of photos! (And a note: not all of these photos are mine – many were taken by my mom, my dad, my brother David, and my brother Danny’s girlfriend, Sharon.)
A little less than 2 weeks ago, the girls and I embarked on what was Madeleine CaiQun’s first long road-trip. My extended family was having a reunion in Milwaukee over the 4th of July weekend, and while it would have been nearly impossible for Matt to go due to his summer teaching schedule, I decided to embark on the ambitious journey with the girls anyway. My dad graciously offered to fly into St. Louis instead of going directly to Milwaukee, so the girls and I met him there and drove the rest of the way with him – that length of drive on my own with the girls was not exactly something I was looking forward to, so I was very thankful not to have to do it, and I enjoyed having that time with my dad, too.
We arrived in time for a late dinner on the 3rd and spent a pretty quiet day at home on the 4th. I wanted the girls to have an opportunity to acclimate to my mom’s house and for CaiQun to meet my brothers and get to know them a bit and all of us to meet Danny’s girlfriend Sharon before we dove into a ton of activities with other people. Despite the fact that I didn’t get to see any fireworks – generally one of my favorite parts of the Independence Day celebrations – this day was one of my favorite days of the trip.
There was time to read books…
…play with toys…
…for my dad and me to take the girls to the park…
…and for playing outside on the driveway while the food was grilling.
We also took a trip to the zoo – it was the first time I’d been in years, but the Milwaukee County Zoo delivered as well as we all remembered it from our childhood (except with the penguins, which is unfortunate, because Sharon is a big fan, and we only saw 3!). The girls had a blast there.
CaiQun seemed pretty comfortable with everyone, which was fun 🙂 And she enjoyed looking at various animals with everyone!
Miranda also really enjoyed herself (I love her smile here, even though the picture is a little blurry)!
We saw some of our favorite animals.
And while it’s hard to tell from this picture, the elephants were actually doing tricks for a trainer while we were there, which was an unexpected bit of fun for us!
After a stop for ice cream, we took some obligatory photos with the cow – we were in Wisconsin, after all!
The next day was our picnic with the whole extended family. The girls – Miranda especially – had a good time with my cousin Kevin’s daughter Sawyer.
The girls enjoyed watching the family kickball game, as well as playing in the sand area.
The following day we braved Summerfest. It’s not exactly tailored to double strollers and small children, but Danny really wanted to take Sharon, and my dad wanted to go, and we got free tickets, so we figured we’d give it a try. It was a little bit crazy…
But we made it work. And the playground helped (though we required 2-3 adults at all times to keep track of the girls and chase them around!).
Monday the girls and my mom and I stayed home while my dad and brothers and Sharon toured the Miller Brewery, and that evening I was able to connect with my best friend from high school, Jessie, and see her little girl again, which we all enjoyed (though I didn’t get any photos!).
And on Tuesday, my dad, the girls, and I packed up all of our stuff again and got back on the road toward home! We met up with Matt in St. Louis with enough time for all of us to grab a quick dinner together before my dad had to take off for his flight.
It felt like a whirlwind of a trip. We did quite a few activities, some more tailored toward the girls and others aimed more at the twenty-something crowd within our family, but the girls held up pretty well. It was exhausting, but I’m glad we made the trip. It was another opportunity to spend time with my mom and my dad, and I always appreciate time with my brothers, whom we don’t get to see all that often. It was also great to meet Sharon – she seems super sweet, and I’m glad she and Danny both seem to be really happy together 🙂 I didn’t get a ton of time with anyone – I suppose that’s the nature of single-parenting two small children for a week at someone else’s house, even if it is Grandma’s – but I appreciated what I got, and I know the girls enjoyed their time with everyone.
And now…we’re glad to be home 🙂