Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Roadtrip 2012: The Dells

We FINALLY made it to the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells Tuesday afternoon. We checked in with Uncle Ace, threw our bags in our room, & headed to the water park. We couldn't wait to cool off & see what these water parks were all about. Kyle & I were loving it! Cooper-not so much. He was a bit overwhelmed with it all for the first 2 days but found his groove.

Each day we enjoyed being able to spend so much time with family. We ALL (60 something of us) gathered together each night for dinner. Although it was CRAZY hot with so many people in one place-it was amazing to sit back & see what Ace & Mary Lou created. During the days we were free to do whatever we liked aka go to the 5 water parks the resort had to offer. We had a blast. It was tiring at times with Cooper but also so fun! Shout out to Grandma Pat & Poppa Marc for watching Coop (& the babies) one afternoon so Kyle & I could cut loose & have some fun.

We loved our cabin & all the family we shared it with. Onna, Karl, Scott, Amy, Kyle, & I would stay up late playing Ruckus, Dutch Blitz, & Liars Dice. Fun times. Mornings came early & Cooper's not one to sleep in so it was nice share the early morning hours with Eden, Bill, & Amy out on the back porch. 

This Mallard was right by my foot! She
wanted some food!

Kyle & Coop on the boat crossing a lake
to get to more waterpark fun.

Indoor Kiddie area

BEST invention at the park!

Yes, Cooper slept in a closet.

Cooper & Poppa

The Annual Frisbee Golf Competition
Marc took home the winning disc.

ALL these people are Ensigns at the Circus!

Pekingese Puppies at the Circus-Moose's long lost family!

Marc & Pat's Grandkids (minus Cagen)

Four generations. :)

Grandma Great. She's the best!

We had a fantastic time at the final ACE & Mary Lou Ensign Family Reunion. We love Grandma so much & are beyond grateful for this time she has given us to be all together as a family. We certainly missed those that couldn't make it. Special thanks to Grandma, ACE & all those that made the reunion happen.

It should be noted that even with NO WiFi or 3G & spotty cell phone service-WE SURVIVED! :) It actually was better without these things. We could focus on what's the most important-Family!

Summer Roadtrip 2012: HELLO WISCONSIN!

We left Freeport Tuesday mid morning. We pit stopped in Madison, WI to check out the capitol & tour the town a bit before we headed to the Dells. It was neat walking around the capitol building & taking in it's beauty. (It was 100 degrees outside so it was great being able to cool off too) We joined in on a tour for a little while but parted ways after 30 minutes. There were a few protesters there with posters & singing songs against someone who was just elected to an office. (yeah I don't remember the details but they were pretty bugged about it) I didn't realize people could protest like that in the capitol. I bet it is pretty awkward to work there at times! 

The dome at the capitol.

Pretty sweet door knobs huh?

Leaving the Capitol.

Madison is a cute town. Wisconsin Univ is located there so it has a college town feel too which is cool. We ate at a really yummy sandwich place...but I can't remember the name. oops. After lunch & our town tour we packed back up & headed to the Dells.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Summer Roadtrip 2012: Freeport

After St Louis we headed north to Freeport, IL to the Ensign family stomping grounds. I love going back to Kyle's hometown & getting to see where he spent his childhood. We rolled into town around lunchtime & stopped by to see Kyle's Grandpa ACE. It was such a special treat to hear Kyle tell Cooper about his Grandpa.

We passed HUNDREDS of wind mills on our way
to Freeport. It was an awesome sight!

We took a little spin on Route 66.

Kyle, Cooper, & Grandpa ACE

Cooper was SO glad to be out of the car.

He loved playing in the grass.

After visiting Grandpa we went headed to get some lunch at Union Dairy. It is an old ice cream parlor where they make their ice cream there & it's been open since the 1930s. So needless to say they've had time to master the tasty art of ice cream. It was so yummy! Cooper enjoyed it too. :)

Our dessert: Praline Ice Cream. YUM!
Lunch: Chili Dog & sweet potato fries.
Next we were off to see Grandma (Great). I loved being able to introduce her to Cooper & to spend time with her before all the hustle & bustle of the reunion began. She's such a great Mom, Grandma, & Great Grandma. Always sending cards & checking in on us & all of her family members. We love you!

Cooper & Grandma Great!
Finally we made it to the hotel & enjoyed seeing family as they made their way into town. We had dinner at Culvers & then headed to Krape Park. It's the BEST park I've EVER been to. We rode on the Carousel, played on the HUGE jungle gym & the boys played Frisbee Golf. We really enjoyed spending time with Kyle's parents, siblings, & their families. (We missed you, Jen!) That pretty much sums up our time in Freeport. It was an overnight stop before we continued on our way.

Carousel Time!

Baylee & Kaylee

Don't mind me-I'm just driving an old Fire Truck


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Summer Roadtrip 2012: St Louis

Cooper loving his new carseat & being a
champion rider.
We set off for St Louis EARLY Saturday morning. (June 30th) We only had to stop once & that was for  a shift change in drivers & for gas. Cooper did AMAZING on the 7-8 hour drive. Once in St Louis our first stop was the Arch. The city was HOT but we cooled off by exploring the museum (located under the arch) while we waited for our ride to the top. I'd always heard it was tiny at the top so I was pleasantly surprised by the space. Bigger than I thought. Coop was a trooper while we took teeny tiny elevator cars up & down the arch.

There she is!

Proof that we made it!
Playing in the museum.
Riding up, Up, UP!
(I wish we could've gotten a picture of how
small this elevator/car was!)
Looking out at the TOP!
We ALL made it to the TOP!

Once we made it to the top it was so neat to see downtown St Louis on one side & then the river & Illinois on the other side. The St Louis Cardinals were playing a baseball game while we were there. It was cool to see the stadium from the top of the arch.

After our descent we were rather hungry so we stopped off at a greasy spoon for burgers & fries. We then topped it off with the BEST frozen custard EVER!! (or so I'm told-this was only my second time having custard) It was definitely yummy & helped cool off on a scorcher of a day. This must be a pretty happening place because we were there all of 20 minutes & we saw not one but TWO wedding parties stop by post wedding to get their Ted Drewes fix.

We were all worn out so we headed to the north side of StL to stay with my brother, Kevin, & his family. Kyle's brother, Karl, & his family were staying with Kev too. We had a BLAST spending time with everyone. I didn't realize how much I missed them until I saw them. The kids are growing up so very fast. I hate having them so far away! We spent the night talking, eating, & playing games. It was awesome!

Ethan & Cooper during church. :)

Sunday morning came early & we headed to church. After church Karl & Onna left for Nauvoo & we headed to Pappy's Smokehouse. We got there just as they were opening (gotta go early bc the line is LONG & the food runs out). Fortunately it was a short wait & our food was at the table just as we sat down. Kyle & I split a full rack of ribs, fried corn on the cob, & sweet potato fries. Let me just take a moment to reflect on the deliciousness........................  They were the BEST (YES BEST) ribs I've EVER had in my life. EVER. I'm still dreaming about them! Let me just say I didn't even think about the BBQ sauce on the side. The ribs were Ah-mazing as is. The corn was great as well as the fries. It's definitely a MUST DO when we go back to visit.

Our ribs, corn, & fries.
Cooper not quite enjoying
On our way back to Kevin's we stopped by & saw the St Louis Temple. We couldn't walk the grounds much because the gate was closed but it was oh so beautiful. I really loved being there. (Another must do when we return)

Me & Coop

playing & smelling the pretty flowers.

Later that afternoon we loaded up all the kids & went to check out where the Mississippi & Missouri Rivers converge. It was a nice nature walk & cool to see. On the way back to Kev's we saw a sunflower field. That's right a whole field FULL of SUNFLOWERS! We stopped to walk through & take pictures. I was in heaven. I loved every minute of it! Even if it was a thousand degrees. :)

Family shot

Deer come into Kevin's back yard ALL the time!
Sunflower field!!

LOVE it!


Our stay was short but we loved spending time with Kev, Sue, Trevor, Spencer, Vince, & Lauren. We love you guys!!