We're here!! Siren, Wisconsin. Birthplace of my grandfather. Home of the fudge shop, cheese shop, 65-degree August daytime temperatures, and beautiful memory-soaked Silver Lake.
My grandpa grew up on the farm behind it and we drove our Ford van with trailer up to my grandparents' lake lot every other summer for my whole childhood. It's a 3-day drive from Houston and it was always worth every mile. A sandy, gently-sloping beach into crystal clear always-chilly water. I have SO many childhood memories here that I am constantly awash in nostalgia and it all make me very happy. Performing American girl doll plays with dime store props (Kirsten from Sweden's story, obviously), learning card games and playing into the night, fishing for days and frying them up at the end, swimming swimming swimming, and way too much antique shopping. It's a special place.
And we're here!
We had to leave the house at 5:45 a.m., about 12 hours after the big kids got back from Camp PapaGigi. As always, Cora rocked it.
She was a pro in the airport, in security, and on the plane. I watched a movie the whole flight and James wasn't even in our row. Traveling with big kids is awesome.
After landing in Minneapolis, shaving 18 hours off our would-be drive time (James would SO MUCH have rather driven because he is a crazy person), we piled into our newly upgraded "luxury" rental car and headed up and over to NW Wisconsin. Within minutes- maybe less than 10- everyone but me was in a swimsuit and in the lake.
James swam around it. 1.5 miles. Just for a little get-this-vacation-going-fun. We traveled along beside him in the pontoon boat.
After that, the big kids decided to swim across it. Claire, at just barely 6, almost certainly now holds the record for youngest one across. They were quite pleased with themselves.
And then, not to be outdone, Cora took off and jumped off the dock straight into the FREEZING water. None of us were in with her- it never occurred to me she'd just jump in and she didn't have a life vest on or anything, but just as I thought I'd need to jump in after her, she popped up, turned over, and swam to the dock herself. Water safety stress test complete!
And then she did it again and again a million times.
My grandparents were thrilled to pieces to have us here and I just loved so much that I was here- a place that played such a huge role in my childhood- with my own three kids.
The pontoon boat- named Queen Mary after my grandma, Queen Mary, has been in near constant use. We even hooked up an old float to the back, giving the kids a caboose to ride around in behind us while we followed James on yet another swim.
Cora prepped for her own open-water race, but was easily distracted by cheese.
We've headed into town each day, 2 miles up County Road B, including a stop at the Main Street Cafe for breakfast yesterday morning. Landon ate one of their giant pancakes and Cora dug into her baby cake own with gusto. Both ate every bite.
Yesterday afternoon I even got in, halfway anyway, and only because Cora insisted on it. That water is really cold you guys.
Today my grandma and I are going shopping- Peggy's Country Store and maybe the fudge shop (now going out of business; a tiny piece of my childhood gone forever). We leave tomorrow to visit my mom's cousins (my second cousins?) in Ely, Minnesota for a few days. They have a beautiful cabin on a lake up there and who knows when we'll get this far north again.
It was 107 in Fort Worth the day we left. It hasn't left the 70's here. I love this place.
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