And like sunshine after a rainy day, my world brightened up. Yes! That's what we'll do! We'll be able to have our cake and eat it too. Visit my happy place and keep my littles with me-- couldn't really ask for much more.
Our goal was to hit the road early-- after all, a seven hour road trip with a 5 month old seemed a little daunting. And while we were a bit late, we managed to pull out of the driveway and reach our cruising speed by 6:00 am.
Anna slept for a good chunk of the morning ride but Charlie was too excited to even think about sleeping. We took a quick break in Madison for some breakfast before hitting the road again.
When Mason and I drive to the cottage, we allow ourselves one stop in Madison and that's it. But we took our time with the kids and made another pit stop near Wausau-- where wandered around a strip mall to kill some time and get a snack. (Pet shops are great places for potty breaks, by the way.)
And while Anna wasn't crazy about being put back in her carseat, she settled in for the final two hours of the ride quite nicely.
When we arrived at the cottage, we cranked the heat, made a fire, broke into the Doritos, popped open a "Spotted Cow" (perhaps the best beer ever), and made ourselves at home.
The weather was chilly but we managed to enjoy the great outdoors with a few walks in the woods and a lot of animal discovery.
We also made time to check out the children's museum, a toy store, and of course... the ice cream/ chocolate shop.
We also happened to be vacationing over St. Paddy's day so we tried to catch that sneaky leprechaun. Charlie was thrilled to create a little trap with Daddy. (He thought carrot cake would be a perfect lure for the little guy...)
And though our efforts were valiant, we didn't catch the sneaky little guy. In fact, he played a few tricks on us-- all of which Charlie thought were hilarious.
He left little tracks and a note by the trap.....
and he peed in our toilet....
and he turned our milk green! (Charlie insisted that it was the best milk ever. "Tastes just like Lucky Charms, Mom!")
Anna wasn't very impressed by the leprechaun's tricks. But she did sport a cute little Irish diaper cover brought back from the Homeland itself.
As we tried to put her down that night, she giggled at us as if to say, "You're crazy if you think I'm anywhere close to sleeping!" So, we plopped her on the bed and let her squeal and laugh and giggle and entertain us until almost ten o'clock at night.
The next morning, we hit the mall and spent three hours riding rides. Charlie would have stayed all day if given the chance but it was time to bring this trip to a close.
Before we knew it, we were ten miles out of the cities with one packed minivan, two new stuffed animals (a pheasant named "Fezzy" and a teddy bear with an "A" on her tummy), two sleeping kids, and two happy parents (probably just as sleepy as the kids). Our hearts are full and we're grateful for this time spent together, turning little life moments into big memories.