Wednesday, March 10, 2010


We had a great time in Wisconsin. I've been planning this trip for a little over a year, and it was so great to see Angie, Steve, and the girls. We arrived on Thursday evening, just in time to celebrate Angie's birthday! They all met us at the airport (including Angie's mom, Lori, whom I've been so anxious to meet-and she had flowers for ME). From there we met up with the rest of their family for a birthday dinner. 17 of us.
A quick stop at Angie's parents house on the way to the restaurant, and the kids got to play for a few minutes. I took advantage of the time, and got a few shots. This is Alexis.
And Laura!
And Erin going for a quick sled down the hill.
And of course Briana.
Dinner for 17 to celebrate Angie's birthday.
The birthday girl, Angie.

Later that night at home, the girls received pj's from Brian's mom, Kathy. Alexis wanted to model hers for me.

The following day we let the kids play outside for a bit, and then we drove to Prairie du Sac to view the bald eagles that are commonly spotted there. We didn't see any at the designated viewing spots, but while taking a few pictures in "downtown" we saw one fly right over the American flag. It was beautiful. From there we walked to an old mill to have dinner. While everyone else drove around the block to the restaurant, Erin, Laura, and Alexis walked down the tracks with me. They loved that they got to walk on railroad tracks.
In the back yard, having snowball fights, building forts, and chasing one another. Alexis, Briana, Laura, Erin, and Brendan.
Beautiful eyes Briana.
Scrunch nose Laura. Silly girl.

Brendan loves to climb, and they have a few great trees in their back yard.
The beginning of the "fort".
Sweetie pie Alexis.
Angie and Sean in Prairie du Sac.
Steve and Brian-brothers.
A bald eagle flying over the flag.
The girls and me walking to the old mill to eat dinner. The restaurant is the big brick building on the right.

Saturday was interesting. We drove to downtown Madison to an annual international festival that was being held, and to see the sights there. Sean and I ended up being separated from the group, and spent the 2.5 hours sitting on State St. waiting to find the group while the rest of the family went to the festival and then walked to the capital for a tour (I left my cell phone in the car, and Brian had the keys). So finally after 2.5 hours Sean asked a business if we could use their phone, and we caught up with the family as they were walking back to the cars. I will say that I enjoyed State St. and people watching while we waited was interesting, but I do hope to be able to check out all of the cool little shops that line the street next time.
A view of the capital from State Street.
Me, all bundled up. I had a long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, and huge winter coat! It was just enough.
State Street.
My kiddos playing on the ice and snow that covered Lake Mendota-a lake right next to the University of Wisconsin @ Madison.
Yeah, let's get a canoe and go right out there.
University of Wisconsin @ Madison science building...very cool.
Daddy and Erin
Brian and Briana.
Aunt Angie and Erin.
Brian with Alexis and Laura.

The Kowalski family. (l-r) Samantha, Laura, Alexis, Briana, Steve and Angie.

When we got back to the house we had a late BBQ, and I got to meet the neighbors, Deb and Leigh, and their two boys. They were great, the boys are super cute, and we ate brats, Italians, and burgers until we were ready to bust. On the night that we arrived I was blessed with a bucket full of Wisconsin goodies, courtesy of Deb. She gave me a blueberry kringle, a cow shaped cheese, chocolate covered cherries, a cow patty, cheese popcorn, and various other local snacks. Also included was the sweetest note welcoming us to their town. Steve and Angie are lucky to have such wonderful neighbors.

Sunday was pretty low key, and we mostly just let the kids play outside in the snow. We walked the one block to the elementary school so that the kids could sled on the big hill there, and they all had a great time.
Sean and Ana
Sean barely fitting into the sled.

Samantha and Laura

Brian with a fist full of snow.
My sweet girl.
Back up the hill-Brian and Ana.
Alexis and Laura coming down the hill
Sean and Ana again.

Daddy and his girl. Love the expression on Erin's face.
Alexis. Such a sweet girl.
Brendan's version of snowboarding.
Cousins. These two are only four months apart in age.

Brendan getting a "face wash" by Brian.
The Kowalski girls. Alexis, Laura, Samantha, and Briana.

Later that evening Alexis helped me make orange brownies. This is where she sat to help me. The day before both Alex and Laura helped me make a blueberry pound cake, and they both sat there to help. It was so cute.

On Monday we drove up to the Dells. Angie's dad and mom own a house with 20 acres of land near the Dells, and we took a short detour to go there, play in the snow, and walk through the woods surrounding the land. The snow was DEEP in some areas, and it made it interesting for those of us not used to the snow. I heavily relied on the footprints of others to get me through.
Cheese curds. Just the thought of them makes my stomach curl. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
Yep. Cheese, beer, and "fresh curds". All with a giant mouse and cheese on top.
Angie and Alexis, knee deep in the snow.

Erin and daddy.

Laura making her way out of the deep snow to get back to the car.

The Dells is famous for having the largest number of water parks in the world, and it was interesting to see all of the water slides surrounded by snow. The town itself was pretty much shut down, and I learned that everything really only opens for the summer tourist season, and then they shut down for the winter (except for the indoor water parks, of which there are many). We did, however, see this interesting bar right on one of the main corners of town.
Water slides and snow.
Have a swig...

On our way home we decided to stop at a local glow-in-the-dark miniature golf place. Brian, Steve and Sean were competing, and the girls were just doing their own thing, having a good time, making their own rules, and seeing who could finish the fastest. It was cute.

We left on Tuesday, and after a delay due to fog we arrived home just after 8:00pm. Exhausted and thawing we unpacked, watched American Idol, and went to bed. We do miss everyone, and hope that it won't be 2-3 years before we see them again. Steve and Angie, thank you for your hospitality and fabulous food (Angie!). She is one hell of a cook. Lori and Jim, it was so nice to finally meet you. Lori, it didn't feel as if it was our first time meeting, and I wish that we could have spent more time together. Deb and Leigh, thank you for the Wisconsin goodies, and for being so wonderful to your neighbors. I hope to see you all again. Alexis, Laura and Briana, we love all three of you, miss you, and look forward to seeing you again soon.


Mom said...

WOW!! What wonderful pictures of everyone. Sounds like a whole lot of fun, family and friends. I am so glad you all finally got to go up there and spend some time with everyone. See made it through the snow,hahahaha. Great trip, Great pictures and Great time. Love you all,

Amanda said...

Lots and lots of beautiful pictures!!


The Mom said...

Great shots! Thanks for sharing. :)