Monday, August 29, 2016

Chasing the End of Summer

This summer slipped through the cracks of my fingers, I swear! I feel like we hardly left Oshkosh. Actually, I feel like we hardly left our house! There are two main parks in our city (Menominee with the lake and zoo and South Park with the creek and splash pad) and I didn't take the kids to either one. Not once! I think back to my first few summers here and realize how much time has changed. With just one or two kids to entertain (and keep alive) I was constantly looking for opportunities to get out and explore. Now, I figure the three kids can entertain one another in their own backyard! There's really no need for me to lug them around the city or state, trying to find ways to occupy our time.

But when August snuck up on me I felt a little panicked. Snow will be here before we know it and we hardly created any adventures for ourselves! I quickly realized I needed to put a couple of things on the calendar (like our family trips to the community pool and the beach). For the very last day of summer I scheduled a trip to Sheboygan so we could visit Bookworm Gardens and Lake Michigan (again). However, looking at this week's weather I decided to bump our adventure up to today (I decided this last night).

The kids and I had a great day. Based on their recap of events I think Bookworm Gardens was actually a bigger hit than the beach. But their excitement at the beach would have convinced me otherwise. "Mom, it's warm!" they shouted as they got in knee deep (it wasn't warm, but it was swimmable -- amazing how big of a difference just 20 miles can make). And then the real excitement, "And there are no flies!!!" We stayed for a couple hours and splashed our little hearts out.

But first, a little photo tour of the Gardens.

The gardens themselves are worth the trip. It's just an added bonus that they manage to tie in dozens of children book classics.

There are seven different themed gardens and each one has marques for six to twelve books. The Woodlands area is where we spent most our time. The kids loved playing at the The Little House on the Prairie area and in the Japanese Tea House.  

Other features in the woodlands included the fairie gardens, Winnie the Pooh's house, The Three Bears, and more. Nell and Coraline looked adorable crammed into Pooh's house and all three kids loved the bears. Coraline was really into Mama bear, who was climbing a tree, and she gave baby bear a sweet little hug as we walked away. She also enjoyed a snack with this gnome.

While I stand by my assessment that the woodlands area was their favorite, both the big kids would tell you "Charlotte's barn" was their favorite part. This is simply because we've been reading Charlotte's Web the past couple of weeks and I really hyped the book up by telling them we would be going to a museum with Charlotte's Web. In fact, Nell named it "Charlotte's Web Museum."  Because I changed plans so last minute we hadn't actually finished the book. Luckily, I downloaded an audio version and we listened to the last few chapters on the car ride over to Sheboygan (just over an hour from Oshkosh). They were really excited to find Charlotte and Wilbur and they did spend a lot of time in the barn imagining where the goslings might be hiding and where Lurvy might have poured the slops. It was fun to listen to them live inside the details of the book as we explored The Farm Garden.

Reid even thinks he spotted some of Charlotte's babies up in her web. Coraline rode and kissed Wilbur -- she really took to that sweet little pig.

They decided this pig must have been "Uncle", the large pig who won the blue ribbon at the county fair.

We didn't spend as much time exploring the other gardens, as there was less shade and we were all turning into a sweaty mess (paired with some hangriness; it wasn't a great combo). But we did manage to find the Three Little Pigs, Horton Hatching the Egg, and McElliot's Pond. Reid pays such close attention to details. He asked where all the trash was in McElliot's Pond, ha! I told him the little boy who fished there probably bought it and cleaned it up.

Seriously, can't you just tell 1) my kids loved this experience and 2) these gardens are gorgeous? It was a great morning. But we were all ready for our picnic lunch by the time we left. 

After lunch we were off to the Beach. There are city beaches in Downtown Sheboygan, but since we just purchased a State Park Pass we opted to head a couple miles South of town and check out Kohler Andrae State Park. It was gorgeous, completely different from Point Beach -- but still really gorgeous. The Great Lakes coastline always takes my breath away for a little bit when I first arrive on their shores.

The area just West of the beach was not as heavily forested as Point Beach and the beach itself was not as wide. In fact, by the time we left there was almost no beach left -- tide was coming in and we scrammed.

This time around there was a lot less playing in the sand and a lot more playing in the water. The kids loved how shallow it was. We walked out a good 50 feet and I was still just knee deep. They put on their puddle jumpers and crawled through waves for almost half an hour -- giggling the entire time. I didn't get many pictures, because I was in the water with them most of the time, but here are a few cute smiles.

It was a rewarding and tiring day!

1 comment:

Pa said...

What fun times. Wish I could have been there with you.

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