Last year, my oldest started school. This Momma was feeling a bit overwhelmed by how fast her babies were growing. I decided that this was time to start a new tradition for our family. This isn’t something my family or my husband’s family did. This is new, just for us. We decided to start a “Back-to-School” weekend. This is a time dedicated to just our fab five. As our children are still very young, that’s not hard to do. But they won’t always be young, and eventually friends, relationships, sports, music, activities will start to fill their lives. While all of those things are wonderful in their own right, I don’t ever want my children to lose the close-knit relationships they have with each other and our family. I need them to know how valued they all are and how important we want them to be to one another. Our extended families have see hurt relationships that have lead to the end of interactions among loved ones. I don’t ever want that for my kids. They are each incredible individuals, and will always have their own thoughts and ideas. But I also hope they will always value each other and always find a place in their lives for their siblings (and mom!)
So the weekend before school starts, we will have an overnight, trying to experience something new, and be together. Last year we went to La Crosse, Wisconsin and stayed in a hotel, venturing to several fun local spots including the Children’s Museum, Ranison’s Ice Cream, Granddad’s Bluff, swimming, and some awesome memories.
Last year’s adventures. My babies were so little!
This year we chose to stay closer to home. Y’all know how money dictates some things… But we didn’t let that stop our fun. We planned on camping out in the yard, but it got really warm and lets be honest, I would miss my bed!
We started our adventure by going to Decorah, Iowa. We ate at the Pizza Ranch. The kids and I have never been there before and Ross hasn’t been in a long time. But we found a new favorite. It was a great pizza buffet, but also had fried chicken, salad bar and lots of fixing, even ice cream. And they had this cinnamon streusel pizza that was mouth-watering delicious. Like, legit, my mouth is watering as I write this. We will be going back!! After a fun dinner we went to Dunning Springs. A spring-fed waterfall in the middle of town (or close too). Again, the kids and I have never been. Funny story, Ross was sure he took me there when we first started dating… nope, sorry hon, that was someone else! Haha! But anyway, the waterfall was gorgeous and the kids loved climbing with their Daddy. It was a beautiful evening.
We started Sunday in a lazy way. We slept in extra late (like, everyone was in bed until after 8am, which has NEVER happened before!) We made cinnamon rolls and watched a new movie we had picked up at Wal-Mart the night before. Then we decided to set out for the day. We began at the Driftless Educational Center in Lansing, Iowa. Josiah and Ross have been there, but the younger two and myself have not. It was such a COOL place!! It had so many hands-on exhibits for the kids to explore and learn about the history of our area. It was really a neat place. We then went to lunch on a place that over looked the Mississippi River then finished our day at Shihata Apple Orchard. We picked apples that were so yummy, shared a caramel apple and picked up some yummy donuts and apple fritter bread. It’s so fun to watch our kids discover the amazing world around them and all the treats and treasure that are in their own backyard.
It was another chapter in this tradition’s book, and it was a good one. I am sure to never forget these memories and hope my children will someday treasure them just as much.