Thursday, July 31, 2014

County of Door 2014

What's worse than having the nagging feeling to catch up on the blog?  
 ~Unpacking
~ Doing 10+ loads of laundry
 ~ Putting it all away
~ Organizing the cupboards and closets in my house because I am putting so much away back into them
~ Cleaning out the camper
~ Attempt to get back onto a normal schedule from vacation
~ Have the boys go through sugar and doughnut withdraw
~ Coming home with more junk food than our pantry can possibly hold, seeing every year I feel the boys need snacks and we NEVER eat it all (Thanks for the HUGE tub of cheese balls Grampa and the full bag of Puppy Chow Aunt Missy)!
~ Having 10 bags of opened, half eaten chips.  How is it possible to come home with more bags of chips than we brought?  Picnic lunches for the next week!
~ Go through 450 pictures
AND
Complete the blog to share with so many of all the fun MEMORIES we made on our Annual Door County Camping Trip with the Family! 

IT'S ALL WORTH IT!

The best part?
~ Watching all the kids play together and make memories to last a lifetime
~ Seeing Adam get giddy after 34 years of this vacation and now being able to share his love of the park with our boys
~ Watch Adam relax and turn off his phone the minute we enter Peninsula State Park
~ Let the boys play in the great outdoors and get dirty without having to do nightly baths (yuck) although they were better this year with accepting showers!
~ Be with Gramma and Grampa for 10 whole days, good thing for us but I'm sure they enjoyed their peace and quiet following the trip!
~ Eat ice cream on a daily basis either at the beach or at Wilson's
~ Coffee at the beach every morning with doughnuts
~ Listening to John Denver and other classics while at the campsite
~ Watching the men haul everything but the kitchen sink to the beach and back e.v.e.r.y. d.a.y. with their wagons
~ Hearing Elise say "Uppie" and "Amy Do"  for 10 days (my little buddy)
~ Watching Elle be Mikayla's little mini-me right down to the hair styles (adorable)
~ Watching Elle master her bike with NO training wheels
~ Coming home to a clean house that feels huge after living in a camper for 10 days! 
~ Buying a camper and leaving some of it packed(sheets, towels, utensils, dishes, first aid kit, etc.) knowing next year will be that much easier... hopefully.
~ Being done with laundry and having everything put away in it's place/back in the camper
~ According to Aiden:  "The excavator (that moved in on the barge to build a pier)."
~According to Ashton:  "Riding Bike."
  
Getting settled at the site is so much easier when we don't have to set up a pop-up camper!  Haul in the camper, set up the awning, unload the bikes and WE'RE HERE!  We had to walk down to the beach the first night.
 Grampa says "The healing waters of Door County!"  It was a bit chilly this year with the hard, cold winter and more ice on the lake this year!  Brrrrr.... I went in, but didn't go past my waist this year.
 On the beach, looking at Horseshoe Island.  It's neat seeing the boats come and go.
 The many expressions of Elise...

 Ashton exploring.



Did we really think we could walk to the beach and not have the kids go in?  It was later and not so hot out so we didn't think of changing into swim suits...

Little did they know on this first night, that all but one day of our vacation was a beach day.  We spent a lot of time on the beach!
 Excited to FINALLY be camping!
 Thank goodness for iPad minis on the 5 1/2 hour ride up!

The tire swing was a daily hit, multiple times.  Ashton has overcome his fear of swinging high.  He didn't care for fast spinning though.  I don't blame him!

 Ashton took his daily nap at the beach, tucked under a tree in the shade and on a floatie.  Aiden doesn't need a daily nap, Ashton on the other hand becomes a crying bear and some days asks for his nap.
 A horse at the beach?  We weren't seeing things!
 We spend very little time in the camper besides to sleep and take a little rest.  The iPads allowed for some down time once in awhile.  Elle and Aiden watching Frozen.
 Ashton watching the same movie on his end of the camper.
 Playing with the trucks both at the beach and the campsites was one way to keep the boys totally entertained.  That and baseball, except baseball was only allowed by the beach.  Otherwise they kept hitting the wiffle balls into the camper, the road, or the weeds (poison ivy).
 Elise likes playing with trucks too, when she wasn't tending to her baby.
 Anytime I ask the boys what they want to do it's "Play Baseball!"
 Aiden "The Boss" telling people where to stand.
 They want us to pitch it to them, as well as throw it up to themselves and hit it.  I hope they aren't bored starting off with t-ball ;)
 Beer can challenge:  Go back through all the pictures and see how many beer cans you can count OR take note of a time that someone (the men) doesn't have a beer in their hand.  ;)
It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere... right?!?!  I'm just wondering if when the boys read through this when they get older, if they will think we were drunk the whole time.  Not at all.
 How about a picture without the beer?
 When the bikes need some adjusting, the boys were there to help!
 The cutest little biker in the park!
 We spent a lot of time on the bikes.  The boys rode in the Burley once on a longer ride with me and I think that is it.
 This would be a great picture if Adam's eyes weren't crazy!  Maybe he was over served and he is just trying to keep them open?  Only kidding. Sort of. 

 Anyone doing the Beer Can challenge?  One of our many nightly walks around the camp sites.
 Throwing rocks is something the boys LOVE to do.  It was a beautiful night to stop on the walk and throw some in!
 Beer can challenge?  Look close... not in the hand, but in the shorts pocket!
 Elle was ready to ride to the beach!  Her baby was ready too.  Adorable.
 Passing some time with Aunt Missy doing sidewalk chalk.
 One of the cutest suits, piggies, flippies and a adorable little girl....
 With a messy cheese balls, ketchup, dirt and push-up face!
 I think I caught her telling me "no" in this picture.  Too cute!
 There's the smile.
 Not sure who enjoyed building things on the beach more... the kids or the dads?
 Two nights before family pictures, Aiden tripped on Adam's feet and donated some skin to the road.  It wouldn't be Door County if someone didn't get skinned up, stitches, or hurt.  Usually Adam takes the award.  I'm just not sure how he managed to salvage the strip in the middle?
 With the water being a bit chilly, the boys spent most of the time on the sand and only going up to their knees.
 Elise was the bravest of all and swam the most!
 There was a day or two that Aiden wanted to a nap.
 Both boys napping at the beach.
 A form of ice cream e.v.e.r.y d.a.y?  Yep.  We are on vacation.
 While supper was cooking, I believe there were a couple dance parties.
 An impromptu activity... building with some fire kindling.
 Nana Kathy, Mikayla and Emily join us every year for the second part of the vacation.  It's a nice change for the kids and adults as well ;)
 Great Gramma Zielke came to visit with Aunt Missy, Mariana and Aunt Amy too!
We usually wait for a rainy day for the girls to do some shopping.  This year I wanted to take a nice morning so we weren't running in the rain.  We also changed it up by venturing to Egg Harbor to check out their shops.  We usually stay in Fish Creek and Ephraim.  There are egg sculptures all over town and some are amazing.  I could have walked the whole day just to take pictures of them all, but I don't think the rest of the gang was up for it.  I got pictures of two... a packer one and a rainbow one.  Maybe I'll get more next year.
 I love the boutiques and the buildings they are in.  Nothing is commercialized from Sturgeon Bay and up, so each little shop has unique trinkets and treasures.

 We drive past it every year and this year we finally ate lunch here on our shopping day.  The boys kept the kids in the park for a beach day, while the ladies shopped and had lunch.
 Elle Marie has graduated to a bike with no training wheels.  They boys wanted to try it so we gave it a shot.  They cruise on their balance bikes and the first go at it with Ashton he had it... until he found out he could tip.  He got nervous and wanted his wheels back on.  He did great, and he is excited to continue to practice.  I think he just thought he was cool to have them off and wanted to walk his bike around and use the kick stand.
You can never be too cautious right?  Whenever they got scared they slam on the brakes, that doesn't work well with trying to get your balance ;)
 Doing it!
 Elle became a pro.  By the end of vacation she was riding to the beach and the nature center by herself (with baby too)!
 Aiden was a bit more reserved about the idea.  After watching the other two, he gave it a try.
 He has the balance, just not the confidence.
 I think because Aunt Missy helped Elle, Aiden trusted her more. ;)
 Cute Elise break in the bike riding action.
 Gramma and Grampa's campsite sign.
 Elise loves her baby.
 She has the funniest expressions.  She definately knows what she wants, will tell you what she wants, and will try to keep up with the big kids!
Gathering at the campsites.
 Wilson's is a must do.
It was busy and trying ti get all the kids to look at you on the front step is nearly impossible.  There was a audience behind us, hence the kids never all looking at the camera at once.  I apologize in advance for all the snap shots, but all are cute with different expressions.

 Elise cheering with the crowd behind us and Aiden's smile getting r.e.a.l.l.y forced.
 Nana hates her picture taken, but I had to steal a couple shots!
 Yum!  Green and chocolate ice cream...
Love it.
 Last year Elise got a plain cone.  This year she was loving the ice cream!

 After ice cream it was fun to play a the park.

 Nana and her first grandchild... Mikayla.
 All because Two People Fell in Love!
 I don't remember the last picture we took together...
 Gramma and Grampa had a arts and crafts day.  We made a beach blanket for next year.  The kids had fun painting!
 I need more pointers from Aunt Missy for teaching writing letters and handwriting.  The boys have taken an interest in writing their names.  Aiden is pretty proud of his "A".  I could tell when he had the sidewalk chalk, there were tons of A's... big ones and little ones.
 Hand prints!
 The finished product.
 Playing more trucks.  Always.
 Still in her painting shirt.
 We had one day that was a bit overcast, so we took advantage of the cooler weather.  We biked to the Nature Center.

 Uncle Dave's little friend.  NOT!  It was entertainment watching him maneuver around the snakes and stay away!
 A butterfly and a mosquito puppet... at times I think the mosquito were actually that big!  Although they were not near as bad as in our back yard!

 We went for a little hike up in the woods... until the mosquitos got too thick!
 The boys were pretty proud that they climbed this "mountain" with Mikayla and Emily.
 On our way back from the nature center, we stopped by the outdoor theater.  The night before we took the boys to their first show and all the kiddos did great!  They though it was pretty cool being up on the stage.
 "Ta-Da"
 Baseball at the beach. 
 Two years ago we had Erika Krouse come up and take some family pictures.  She photographed both Missy and Dave's wedding as well as ours and has done photos of all the kiddos and family pictures.  She does great work!

2012
This year we took family pictures at one of our most favorite places again.  Thanks Erika Krause Photography for your beautiful pictures! These are the sneak peeks... I can't wait to see them all!

2014
Another year in the books and memories made.  The boys want to go camping again, so maybe with the new camper we will venture to some camp grounds closer.  Start the count down for next year!
 At this point they were starting to ask to go home.  About 1 hour into the ride, they were awake and asking if we were going home the rest of the ride (4 1/2 hours).
 Would be adorable if Ashton wasn't being silly!
 Now both are silly and pictures are D.O.N.E!
 Super excited to be home, even though they wanted to go back to camping... Finn and his family decorated our drive way!  We have such great neighbors who have turned into forever friends.

 We even got "Welcome Home" balloons.  Thanks Finn and Family for watering the flowers!
 Sunday, we were invited by Devin, Lauren, and Nora to pick some blueberries.  This is something we have never done before and it was so much fun.  The boys loved it, we picked a whole bucket, and it was a beautiful place, just North of Menomonie.  The nest part of the day?  It was also Daddy's 35th Birthday!  I told him to enjoy this year because next year he is closer to 4-0 than 3-0!
The berries were HUGE and yummy.  We needed to try what we were picking to make sure they were good  ;)
 After a little rain shower moved through, we were back to picking!
 Aiden wanted me to take a picture of most every berry that he picked. 
 Ashton was the master sampler.  They should have weighed him before picking and then after.  We would have had to pay for a pound or two!
Ashton was so proud of what he was picking... until he dropped the full bucket in the grass at the end.  Oops.  I can rinse out the grass!
 A beautiful day, great company, and yummy blueberries. 

 The three amigos.
 We successfully ate half the bucket plain, and I made the other half into blueberry crisp. Yum.
 After picking blueberries, we continued with Daddy's special day with lunch at Ted's Pizza.  Teddies as the boys say.  Then we had dinner at home with some cupcakes, ice-cream and presents.
 While Aiden was helping with presents, I caught Ashton hamming it up for the camera.  What a ham!  He even has the head tilt going.
 Daddy's best present for the night?  His two boys cuddled in and asking to watch Star Wars.  "Like the Jedi Master on their shirt."  This was a first and music to Adam's ears.  I refuse to watch it with him and they boys have watched it about 4 times since.
 We are looking forward to getting back into our schedule and enjoying the month of August before school starts.  The boys were also excited to cash in their latest sticker charts for good behavior.  We went to Walmart and they are switching interests to Super Heros and the Disney Planes.  Not sure if it's because they have every truck and Dinosaur already or not.  Finn is into Cars and Planes and their friend Jaxon is into super heroes so that may be it too.  They ended up picking out Drip and Avalanche from the new Planes: Fire and Rescue movie in theaters.  We have plans to go with Finn this next week!  But this choice was not made before going down every isle and trying on this Hulk mask.  ;)
 Thanks for being patient with the blog updates.  We are too busy enjoy our summer days and nights with each other, family and friends!
~The A Team a.k.a Happy Campers.

Look for the other post I completed about 4 being Fabulous!  It's of the 4th of July and Elle turning 4.  It's safe to say I am caught up for now ;)  Until next week.