~Oh Hey!^ First of all, if you haven't, click over to my blog to see the new design! I am so excited and I'm sending a million hugs your way, Rhonda Ortiz!* ~
Now, on with the post.
How do you have a good vacation? Do you have any guidelines in place? Do you plan ahead? Do you wing it? Do you choose a cool place and hope it delivers? I'm happy to report that we went on a trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin this past week, and it was MAJORLY fun and well-planned by my cousin Carmen! It wasn't Disney. But it was great.
I wanted to engage the five senses on this vacation. I wanted to experience something instead of living vicariously through others' travels and trunks. Let's see how I did! lol
The main thing I desired was to be present. I wasn't looking for gourmet food or expensive, fancy restaurants on this trip. My uncles and cousins went fishing almost everyday we were in Minnesota and Wisconsin. We ate fresh fried fish that they had caught and filleted that same day. It was delicious! We were able to make our kids resist getting too many souvenirs by buying them Lindt chocolate balls the last day. I think it worked! ;)
Besides the crowds of airports and restaurants, we saw many sights. We did a bit of sightseeing, but most of all, we escaped the crowds by going to Wisconsin to stay at a beautiful retreat center and lodge called Heartwood. I'm happy to say I saw lots of beautiful views of nature, lakes, and trails. We were in the land of 10,000 lakes, as a matter of fact!
There is nothing like escaping the oppressive heat of Summer in the South, only to find out that the weather for the week up North would be in the 70's and lower 80's. I don't know how many times I thought about moving there. The fresh air and crisp, clear blue skies of the Northern Woods were amazing. The cool breezes refreshed my soul.
My nephew Grey
Have I mentioned how much I adore being an Auntie?!
Cousins Emma (2nd cousin once removed- her Grandma and my Mom are first cousins), Evelyn, and Liam (first cousins, once removed- their Dad is my first cousin)
We were hoping for quiet. And although babies scream and the crowds provide a dull roar, we all found a definite break from the normal. For myself, I'm happy to report that the clatter of dishes was not mine to hear this past week, except for one evening, when I was assigned dinner chores. Being in the woods provided sounds of bugs, birds, and rain. I listened to my sister read our children a book. The clash of everyday din was far, far away. I also loved hearing my Minnesota cousins say "Taco." It sounded like, "Ta-coal." Rhymes with Stockholm. #iguess #laughcry #wink
Como Park & Gardens- see more from our trip on instagram
(I'm still catching up~ laugh cry wink!;)
Souvenirs come in the form of woodland creatures, as well as shells, quartz, and sand on the bottom of our shoes. Happiness is feeling a(n actual) cool breeze in August. Happiness is to hug my sister and cousins and niece and nephew, to hold a cup of coffee and my Kindle, to feel my feet resting on an ottoman in front of me-- these are the familiar and amazing feelings of being on vacation and traveling. It was actually so cool out, that Molly hung out with her cousins in the trunk of a van. #neverpossibleinTN
All in all, my goal was to be present to my family, put my iPhone down most of everyday, hang out with my sister and her kids, see my cousins and extended family, and take just a few pictures of it all. While engaging my five senses, I felt the Spirit moving and giving us all life. I breathed it all in, and took a deep breath of thankfulness at the end. And I virtual high fived Michael Phelps every evening.
My Dad cracking a joke the last day/night we were there~ eating at a restaurant in the Mall of America~ he said, "This would give Chuck E. Cheese a run for its money"**
I wanted to be present, not distracted. I want to be with my people. I want to engage my five senses in travel and life bursting with activities and conversation. I want to appreciate place, people, and the things we see and do. In order to do these things, will turn off my phone if I need to. And pack a smaller trunk. ;)
*If you are looking for excellent design, work ethic, and a reliable, friendly person, I highly recommend you visit the website, RhondaOrtiz.com or follow her on Twitter (go do it!) Rhonda Ortiz has a lot to offer other than headers, and if you are in any way interested in a site redesign or something design-related, check out her portfolio. ~end credits~
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