We left the waterpark at noon and headed for Madison, Wisconsin, an hour away, to where my sister, Lisa, lives. We took a tour of her place and hung out a bit, the kids playing with some Legos and the cats
. Then, we ordered take out and headed to a nearby park on the lake with the kids pulling out their scooters for a spin on the black top. Afterward, Bret and the boys went to a playground across the street while Lisa and I traveled to the Botanical Garden, where I proudly saw the perennials on my Bloom Calendar (http://www.bloomcalendar.com) in the garden. It looks like the bloom times are just one month later than in Virginia, but the same perennials thrive.
After the emergency call that the kids were crying out of tiredness, we picked up the boys and dropped Lisa off. It was a short, but nice visit. And after not being able to meet up with an author and gardener in the Chicago area, it was just the special visit I needed to make me feel better.
On the way to the campsite in Utica, Illinois, we hit a patch of poop wind - "Oh man, that's bad," I said. "It was like a tumbleweed of poop," Bret replied. One hour later, after the worst 10 miles of 45 mile-an-hour, under-construction road in the history of our trip - we even had to pay a toll for the privilege of riding it - we arrived at the campsite, 5 miles off the highway in a tranquil spot amidst corn fields and farms.
We played on the playground, set up a campfire, and Bret and the kids played at the pool
. After the sun set and the kids had their glow sticks in hand, Bret said, "Rebecca, you have to come see this." I came outside and looked across the field in the dark. There were hundreds of fireflies - the night sky was twinkling with them. For the next hour, I sat in my camping chair by the fire and couldn't take my eyes off of them. After roasting hot dogs and marshmallows (probably for the 5th time in 14 days, but what the heck) I cleaned up the picnic table and joined the kids and Bret inside the RV in their first game of "War," which Bret and I each played as kids. Warner's Aunt Marni called to wish him a happy 4th birthday amidst the whooping and hollering of an intense card game. Then, we finally called bedtime at 10:15p.m. and all the boys feel asleep extremely fast. Somehow, I had the preparation skills afterward to set up the table for breakfast, clean all the dishes, and set the coffee timer. Then, I wrote a little and went to bed, finally without the sound of the highway, and just the sound of nothing.
Today was a magical day. We got to the water park at 9a.m. and we rode all of the rides. The kids even waited for us while Bret and I rode "The Howling Tornado," which shot us out into a huge funnel, free-falling down a drain. We rode it twice! A year ago, you wouldn't have caught me even on the shortest waterslide, but now I'm trying to live life to it's fullest every day. Warner even taught me to "up the ante" a bit to make life more exciting. After going on some slides with me tandum, he was ready to ride by himself. The second time around, with a big smile on his face, I noticed that he had his eyes closed. He was making it more exciting by putting himself in the dark! So, I tried it too, and then all morning I tried it, until I could go down waterslides with my eyes closed.