We went to visit my family in Wisconsin and Minnesota. On July 19 we flew into Milwaukee, WI and began a lengthy drive to northern Wisconsin. We first stopped in Madison and brought Dante to a park in my old neighborhood where I lived from age 6 to 16. Then we went to the Union Terrace at the U of WI, on the shore of Lake Mendota. My sister Sharon and her son Peter met us there for bratwurst, hamburgers, and corn on the cob all cooked on an outdoor grill on the terrace. (We took no pictures in Madison, unfortunately.)
Next we stopped in Eau Claire, about 3 hours north, to see my 101-year-old grandmother Larson. Dante was excited about seeing "a great-grandmother!" (sort of like seeing a moose or a deer along the road it seemed) and "a nursing home!" Here is a pic Nick took with his cell phone camera.
We didn't stay long, as she tired quickly, but she was alert and aware and happy to see us.
Another hour and a half or so on the road and we arrived at Long Lake. Besides my parents, my sister Janet was there with her three teenaged kids and one of their friends, so it was a pretty full house. They stayed through the next day and then headed home to Kansas. Oops, no pictures of them, either!
Dante re-discovered the joy of walking around in the shallow water near the dock, and this year he has a favorite toy -- a plastic fish mold that he fills with sand and "makes a fish." Here's the happy boy.
Contemplating the nature of the universe (or maybe just nature) with fish mold in hand.
Dante and Daddy enjoying their morning coffee and pastry on the dock. With pink fish nearby.
The cottage is on a former island, now attached to the mainland via a gravel road. The end of the island is a favorite sitting/gazing place. Here's Dante at "The Point."
We discovered a set of bocce balls, which was good for lots of fun. Dante helped Grandpa Larson put the balls away. (Hey, wait a minute, which one is the Italian Grampa anyway??
Here are a few family pics.
Dante and his Grandparents Larson.
One small happy family, self-portrait.
My sister Diane came up from Rochester, MN, and my mom's cousin Susan has a cottage nearby, but we didn't end up with any good pictures showing them.)
And a few other miscellaneous pictures. Dante has a new backpack that he's thrilled (most of the time) to carry.
We went to a park in the nearby town of Rice Lake, and he found a fun bouncy skunk. (And that's where my brand-new cellphone seems to have disappeared into the trash along with the remains of our picnic dinner there...)
Here he is telling us all about the day's news.
(Actually, Grandpa had found an article remembering an amazing fish catch in 1955, and pointed it out to Dante. It's a picture of many men posing with many huge fish.)
At the end of our trip, we spent 2 nights and a day in Minneapolis, where my brother Steve lives. Aunt Elaine had all sorts of toys ready for Dante's visit, plus they have two cats, so Dante found their house to be very exciting and fun! (Elaine also did us the saintly favor of suggesting that we parents go out in the evening for a bit after Dante went to bed, and we went "uptown" and had a lovely drink and dessert. So the visit was pretty great for us, too.)
We discovered we really like Minneapolis. The city and the downtown seem, strangely, bigger than Boston, and yet it has many lakes with little beaches and walking paths, right in the city. And we didn't even get to the banks of the Mississippi River, also right in town.
We visited the Minneapolis Sculpture Park and here was the most eye-catching piece:
Oops, no pictures of Steve and Elaine and their kids, either.
We flew home from Mpls on July 26. It was a lovely trip that included farms and woods and lakes, lots of family time, and one good dose of big city to top it off.