We are happy, healthy, and... home.
We spent the last week and a half wandering around Minnesota and Wisconsin, starting with a big soccer tournament the girls' teams were in, hanging out in a lovely hotel with a big waterpark, then camping in a few different places, visiting the zoo and the Mall of America, taking a ferry to Madeline Island in Lake Superior (one of my new favourite places - I want to go back!), and ending with a night in a hotel in Duluth.
I have lots of pictures to download and oodles of stories to reminisce about - not to mention mountains of laundry to do. But for now, I'll leave you with just a few of the many pictures we came home with.
First off, this picture stopped me in my tracks when I saw it. It surprised me just how happy and relaxed I look. It's been a little too long since I've looked in the mirror and saw that much contentment on my face. Apparently the vacation was the right kind of healing for the lines that have been deepening on my face.
This picture may not seem like much, but if you look closely, you can see by the body language and facial expressions that Marcel and the girls were having a good laugh (at the Minnesota zoo - one of the best zoos I've ever been to). I love to watch my family laugh. We did a lot of that on this trip.
And speaking of laughing, the girls were having a hoot on the air mattress at the beach on Madeline Island. I think, for the coming year, when I need to go to my "happy place" it will be that beach on Madeline Island. Pretty close to perfection.
And one last shot of the girls and I on the ferry leaving the island. Ferries have a unique ability to make me happy. There's just something about them.
If you're looking for a fun place to spend a few days with your family, and you enjoy a place with relaxed island charm (where you can play pool at the local beach club as you watch baby ducks float past the window), a lovely woodsy secluded campground (where deer wander past your site at dusk), a beautiful sandy beach with crystal clear water (and very few people cluttering it up) and you're not too far from Lake Superior, you might want to consider Madeline Island. (I have not been paid for this endorsement. Just trust me - it was a little bit of magic.) I think Marcel and I may go back some time for a little "second honeymoon", but this time we might check out the quaint little inn or one of the bed and breakfasts we saw. (And wouldn't you just love to attend an art camp here? I think I may add that to my "list of things I want to do before I die".)
Happily, I still have a couple more weeks off work, so we'll be doing more fun things a little closer to home.
Oh... and one more thing... it was oh so DELIGHTFUL to come home to REAL MAIL - not just bills and grocery store flyers! I got the first pieces of inspiring art for my studio! I'm so excited! I'll take pictures soon and show you what showed up. For those of you who already sent yours... thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! For those who still want to... it's never too late!