One of the things we really think is important for our kids is to expose them to new experiences and new places. For Michael, this can be challenging. He likes things just so and he wants to stay close to home. That being said, he throws himself into our outings with enthusiasm and will talk about the places and the things we do with great pleasure. For our girls, and most especially Lera, seeing the world and interacting with a variety of people is great for them. Most people we meet are tolerant if the girls are too friendly. Lera is really bad for touching other people. She has a wonderful view that the everyone adores her and she adores just about everyone. Caelia is like that to a lesser extent. We are still teaching them about personal space but I believe that if they meet enough people and are exposed to varied environments and social situations, the easier they will fit into society as adults. The world is such a wonderful place and our kids have a view of it like no other. I like seeing the world through their eyes.
Our trip this weekend was to Lake Michigan and Door County, Wisconsin. This is a long car ride but this is some place that I had heard about and it seemed like a reasonable distance for a weekend trip. We got a late start on Thursday because Lera had her cardiology appointment, audiology appointment and C-spine xray so we stopped in Tomah, Wisconsin. We stayed at a wonderful place called The Cranberry Lodge. We had a 1 bedroom suite with a futon in the bedroom and a king size bed with another futon in the living room. Michael and Christopher slept in the living room and the girls slept on the futon in the bedroom with us. Oh, and for anyone wondering...Christopher is our sometimes child. He is Michael's best friend and spends lots of time with us, but he does have another home - we are just lucky to have him around.
Our next stop was Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The resort itself was beautiful and the room was fantastic. (It's part of the Great Wolf Lodges and has a very kid friendly atmosphere) The girls loved the waterpark. They really don't like the deeper water, so they stay in the "under 6 inches of water" infant play area. It had geysers and all sorts of knobs to turn and water that sprayed from all sorts of pipes. They loved laying down in the water but they would not go down the kiddie water slides (where the water is about 18 inches deep). Oh, well baby steps. Michael, Christopher and Randy were playing on the slides until the park closed at 10pm. There were lots of activities available for the kids in the resort but we didn't participate. These are things that are best suited to a long vacation, where the kids are more comfortable with the routine. We did go and enjoy the beach. It was 20 degrees cooler by the resort then it was 5 miles away. A bit too cold for playing in the water but Lera did give it her best attempt. She didn't really make it into the water but she played in some very wet sand. When we left the next morning we walked out on the pier. The fog is amazing on Lake Michigan. Half way out on the pier, we could no longer see the resort or the far end of the pier. We could hear the fog horns blaring though.
Our last stop was in Sturgeon Bay. This is in Door County. It is beautiful here. It almost feels like New England. The canal in Sturgeon Bay that connects the two sides of the of the peninsula created to make Green Bay accessible without having to navigate "Death's Door" - the colorful name for the waters. One of the reasons for the name is that it is said that it is the site of more shipwrecks than any freshwater body of water and rivals some parts of the ocean for the same title. One story involving Native Americans has one tribe building a ring of campfires on thin ice offshore, to woo their enemies through the strait overnight. The attackers perished on the way. The canal has a lovely park where the kids played. I tried teaching the girls how to whistle using a blade of grass. They liked this a whole lot more than Randy did. Lera and Caelia both managed to make a noise with me holding the blade of grass.
Michael fell off the swings and scraped up his back and then disappeared for a while and came back with a present for his mama. A water lily. Michael tries so hard to bring me one. These are not easy to come by and it usually ends up with Michael soaked and empty handed. He triumphed on this occasion and made his Mama teary eyed. He still ended up soaked.
Both Randy and I are very fond of lighthouses. If there is one in a reasonable driving distance - we're there. We stopped at Lighthouse. This is under the control of Homeland Security so you can't get too close but you can see the lighthouse and once again it was foggy so you could hear the fog horn. There is a public beach right next to the lighthouse that we played on. Caelia, Lera and I walked in the waves. Lake Michigan is cold but not as icy as Lake Superior and the rocks on the shore are completely different - if you notice that sort of thing. The boys wandered away in the fog and Randy had to chase them down and bring them back. The girls and I played in the waves and searched the beach for treasures. We found several very pretty rocks, a small whole shell and a tiny blue crab claw, leftover from some sea gull's lunch.
We stayed at the Stone Harbor Resort in Sturgeon Bay. It was a beautiful resort and an awesome suite. The boys got the sofa sleeper and a rollaway bed. Michael got the rollaway because he had scraped his back pretty badly on the swings at the park. Actually, he scraped it falling off the swing onto the wood chips below. Honestly, we thinks wood chips are a good thing in a play area? Ouch!
The girls shared our room. They liked the beds but they were thrilled with the huge whirlpool in the bedroom. While the boys swam and Randy went to work out, they spent over an hour in their own private pool. I wish I had been able to get a picture but the battery was dying on the camera and I grabbed the wrong charger. We definitely have too many electronics, It was a very good vacation. I really needed the break and it was good to have time with just the kids and Randy.