Kenosha in the Spring (pt. 6)

So what did I do with those two extra days in Kenosha? Well, we visited the Jelly Belly Factory again. You can’t beat getting a free bag of jellybeans after riding around in a train. And we played outside quite a bit.

We also took a ride on the historic streetcar through Kenosha’s downtown.

We tried to visit a historic lighthouse, but it was locked up tight, even though we visited during the hours it was supposed to be open. Oh well.

And we played lots and lots and lots of Star Wars Trouble.

Then I had to say good-bye for a second time and check my bag two or three times to make sure I had my license and boarding pass and head back to the airport in Milwaukee. I can’t help but be glad my stay was accidentally extended. I’ll gladly take any opportunity to hang out with all of these guys.

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Kenosha in the Spring (Pt. 5)

When I went to check on Lucy Monday morning, I found her like this:

She had fallen asleep reading. Hopefully this is just the first of many times in her life when she will fall asleep reading. Also, hopefully, she will one day advance to falling asleep while reading Anne of Green Gables and Pride and Prejudice instead of Disney Princesses.

And here’s a random photo of Lucy looking like a rockstar. So maybe one day she’ll graduate to that, too.

To celebrate Memorial Day, we decided to go to Petrifying Spring Park. They have an awesome playground. It had both old school things (like a big, rusty slide, an old merry go round, and bucking horses) along with new, plastic, safe stuff.

Lucy is really brave and she’ll go down that big slide posted above over and over and over again without blinking an eye. But as soon as the merry go round started going faster and faster, she started screaming, “GET ME OFF!!!” So yeah… she’s not really into the merry go round yet.

But Peter and Penny Lane loved it.

The great thing about Petrifying Spring Park is that, not only are there awesome and possibly slightly dangerous playgrounds, there are also lots of trails for short little hikes (the kind I like). We decided to take one. It looked promising… all verdant and lovely.

There were wildflowers. There was a meadow. It was almost like Twilight (sans sparkly vampires).

But then there was also mud. Lots and lots of mud.

I don’t mind getting my feet muddy, but it was a lot harder to walk in flip flops that kept slipping and sliding off my feet. Plus, I kept worrying about falling and breaking my camera. And the kids really hated the mud, so it wasn’t the best part of the little hike.

But it was still really pretty.

I had to pack up for my flight later that evening, so my Memorial Day was kind of short. Around 5, Amanda and I put the bags in the car and headed up to Milwaukee to catch my flight. When we arrived at the airport, Amanda and I got out of the car. Amanda picked up a penny. “Find a penny, pick it up, all the day you’ll have good luck!” Just then, I reached into my new camera bag to pull out my driver’s license so I was prepared for the security line. Only to find that my driver’s license was no longer there! We called back to the house, but Mike couldn’t find it in my room. Amanda and I each took turns turning out my bags and looking under car seats, but nothing. I was not having good luck! I didn’t know what else to do. I really should have talked to the airline, but I didn’t know if they’d be able to help me. I worried that, worse-case scenario, I’d have to have my mom send my passport. So we decided to just go home.

The license was on the driveway, near the flowerbeds. I honestly have no idea how it got there. (Amanda also “claims” not to know.) I called the airline and found out that if I could make it to the airport (an hour away) before 9:00 pm, the airline would rebook me on the next available flight for free. Apparently this is not something they can do over the phone. Since this would save me $250, I borrowed the jeep and drove back to Milwaukee. Of course, the ticketing counter was closed by the time I got there. At 8:30. I called again, and they wouldn’t do anything to help over the phone. I was mad. And I wasted my Memorial Day evening driving to and from the airport. Twice. I went home, rebooked my flight for Wednesday, and wrote an angry email.

It wasn’t all bad, though. I got most of the cost of my flight refunded, and I got to stay an extra two days. So more Kenosha adventures to come.

Kenosha in the Spring (pt. 4)

After we finished making the world’s best chocolate chip cookies, we got ready for church. Then we had some time to play, so that’s we hung out in the playroom for a while.

Whenever I would go to take a photo of the kids, I would often crouch down so I was more on their level. Apparently, Lucy picked up on this because every time she saw me about to take a photo, she would crouch down and say, “Cheese!”

After church, I wanted to take some more pictures of them (I love it when they’re all dressed up).

I asked Penny and Peter to bring their favorite toy down. Penny ran upstairs to look for princess puppy.

She came down with a Little People ice cream truck. I’m pretty sure it’s not her favorite toy, but it’s what she chose.

Peter at first picked up a new favorite book from the library. If you guessed it was Star Wars related, you would be right.

He’s a little obsessed. Then he went and got another favorite toy, and this one I totally believed.

Star Wars Trouble. We played this game at least 1000 times.

I would have liked to get a photo of Lucy with her favorite toy, too, but she was a little preoccupied.

After dinner, we walked across the street to the pier.

Amanda is about 7 months pregnant now. I can’t wait to meet the new little one in August.

The pier has a great view of Lake Michigan.

BUT, it could probably use a few more bars on the fences. It was a little terrifying how easily the kids could slip through them, if someone didn’t hold on to them.

And then it was time for some freeze tag and general running around.

It was a perfect Sunday evening.

Kenosha in the Spring (pt. 1)

Although I had a great visit to Kenosha over Thanksgiving, I knew it would be better in the spring. Of course, it was much warmer and greener and there were more flowers, but I decided that it doesn’t really matter what time of year I visit because I’m just happy to see these faces. (Well, there’s a face there behind that star destroyer made from Legos.)

(This is Lucy doing her ballerina pose.)

Of course, it was definitely more fun to visit the beach during the spring. We could actually bask in the sun while digging in the sand.

Isn’t Penny Lane the perfect little Cosette sometimes? Case in point…

Her little face matches up perfectly. Luckily, she only resembles her in looks (at times) because she’s happy and well fed and much loved.

We had so much fun at the beach, and that was just the first day!

Visiting Kenosha (Part 4)

On the first day of December, we went to the beach.

Sure, we had to wear our coats, but hey, it was still the beach. There was still plenty of digging around in sand and looking for shells and climbing up slides (but deciding it was maybe a little too high) and twirling around and posing and watching the seagulls. Basically, it was just pretty great.

I ended up extending my stay in Kenosha by four days. I just wasn’t ready to leave. Even though I ended up with a cracked iPhone screen and a cold, it was still a good decision. Somehow, though, I didn’t end up taking any more pictures. Amazing, I know. I really liked Kenosha. I didn’t get any pictures of the town, but we drove around quite a bit. It seems like every time we planned to go somewhere, the girls would fall asleep in the car, so we’d just keep driving and checking out the houses. Kenosha has some darling houses. I’m looking forward to visiting again when it’s warmer.

Visiting Kenosha (Part 3)

So what is there to do in Kenosha anyway? Well, there are tons of things to do in Kenosha! Other than visiting the Kenosha Public Museum, there’s a Civil War Museum, and a Dinosaur Museum. There is the beach! You can build sand castles on the shores of Lake Michigan. There are lots of cute little diners and ice cream shops. There’s a train that takes you around the town. There’s an awesome cemetery and some great parks. Visiting Kenosha is going to be so awesome…. in the summer. Don’t get me wrong. I still had a fabulous trip, but that was mostly because of hanging out with my family. I kept thinking how nice it would be to visit when everything is green and sunny. But we made the most of it. We took a tour of the Jelly Belly Warehouse.

And no trip to Wisconsin would be complete without some cheese. We got ours at the Mars Cheese Castle.

We got to sample all kinds of fancy cheeses. There was the 3-year-old cheddar, the 7-year-old cheddar, and the 9-year-old cheddar that was so sharp, I almost couldn’t swallow it. There was a fruit cheese and one with tomato and basil. Mmm… delicious.

One afternoon, we picked up some Popeye’s! I was so thrilled to eat my favorite chicken po’boy and fries. We don’t have that kind of yumminess in Utah (at least, not unless you’re at the air force base).

We did brave the windy cold one afternoon in an attempt to locate Amanda’s Christmas wreath that got caught up by the wind. Luckily, we found it camouflaged in the neighbor’s flowerbeds. Penny Lane showed me their new little cottage.

Meanwhile, Amanda fed the birds nesting in the pile of branches from the tree that fell down after the tornado back in June.

Even when it’s too cold to play outside, we did the next best thing. We played in the sunroom.

Although, it was still a little chilly in there.

It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset.

Visiting Kenosha (Part 1)

I couldn’t wait to get to Kenosha on Thanksgiving Day and see Amanda’s family in their new home. I knew that the end of November wasn’t the ideal time to visit Wisconsin, but I couldn’t wait until spring, so Thanksgiving it was. And sure, we didn’t spend a lot of time outdoors, but I got to spend lots and lots of time with these little munchkins.

I couldn’t believe how much Lucy had grown! Last time I saw her in July, she had just turned one year old and was barely walking. Now she’s running all around and saying all sorts of words. But Penny Lane had also grown and changed a lot. They are all so much fun. And they were so excited to see me. Mostly because they knew that I brought video games on my phone with me.

We did have a picnic at Carthage College on Friday afternoon. It was even warm enough for us to eat outside.

And on Saturday, we visited the Kenosha Public Museum. I was expecting a dinky little town museum, but it was really impressive! It shares the story of Kenosha from prehistoric times to today. It has all sorts of dioramas and bones and recreations, like this one of how the early peoples used all parts of the woolly mammoth.

And there is a prehistoric shark. (Warning, the next picture is a little disturbingly scary.)

Don’t forget the actual woolly mammoth bones and the taxidermic wolves.

On the upper story, they have these awesome dioramas of Renaissance artist studios that show the scale of the sculptures. I wish I could have gotten a better picture, but here’s Michelangelo’s studio.

The upper story also has an excellent view of Lake Michigan.

And one evening, even though it was drizzling a little, I walked around the Kemper Center located conveniently right next to their new house. The Kemper Center is large and beautiful. Part of it is this charming little chapel.

It sits right on the shore of Lake Michigan, which was foggy and lovely.

Mike and Peter came along with me to kick the ball on the grounds.

More photos from Kenosha to come.