At one point I wanted to show Ella a few Wisconsin farms with their expansive barns and picturesque farm houses. It reminds me of where I grew up. We took a country road off the main highway to "find cows." As soon as we saw our first one, Ella started singing Old McDonald.
At last, we arrived at Nana & Papa's. Ella set to work helping them water their plants, something she's very good at. (Probably didn't learn that from me, though. You should see our outside plants. Or not. They don't even exist anymore. After the flowers on the deck dried up, I tossed them with the yard waste. At least that way I don't have to be reminded of my lack of plant growing ability. Inside plants, yes. Outside, no. Maybe next summer will be better.)
At dinner, Ella was given this enormous book to use as a booster. I remember sitting on a stack of phone books at my grandparents' house when I was little. I couldn't resist capturing the moment.
The first evening of our stay, Auntie Kristin and I were watching the Olympics while Sam slept and I wondered what Ella was up to. When I searched in a basement bedroom, this is what I found. A perfect little picnic.
Papa and his boy. The two of them together just makes my heart happy.
While I was out, I saw this shirt in Ella's size. Pete says this all the time.
It was hot during our visit (so thankful for air conditioning!), but we still spent plenty of time outside. Ella loves to walk around the small lake behind Nana & Papa's house.
Ella loves her Auntie Kristin. We're so fortunate to be able to see her just about every visit to Wisconsin. Ella also loves taking pictures, but we already knew that, didn't we?
She's gotten really good at throwing rocks in the water after all her dates with Daddy down by the lake. I think they always end up throwing rocks on their dates.
Another moment I love of Papa and Sam.
I know this picture was taken moments before leaving Nana & Papa's because Ella is holding a melting M&M. Nana always has a bowl of dark chocolate M&Ms out, but I don't let Ella know that until it's time to go. If you ask what her favorite food is, she'll tell you without hesitation choc-o-late. Just hearing the way she says the word makes me want to give it to her. Choc-o-late. I hope she says it that way forever.
After our 48 hour stay, it was time to head back to Duluth. The drive back wasn't quite as peaceful as the way there. I was a bit on edge before we were halfway home. Not good. The sun was beating down on me as I drove and Ella was practicing her two favorite questions "what?" and "why?" a few too many times for my liking. We finally stopped at a park in Solon Springs, a little town I've been wanting to check out. Ella played, I fed Sam, my sanity returned, and we all got some fresh air.
We had been watching gymnastics on the Olympics the night before, so when Ella saw this parking block, she pretended it was a balance beam. My dad was a gymnast back in the day, so I had to capture these photos.
We eventually did make it home. I was ready for a nap the moment we did, but of course the little ones had been in the car so long that they refused to rest. Isn't that always the way of it? No worries. Being a parent just wouldn't be complete without a few moments of exhaustion every now and then. And after such a relaxing stay at Nana & Papa's, I didn't mind quite as much.