We made it! Even with our very limited time in the USA, we were able to visit our families in Wisconsin and Missouri! We didn't go last year, so it was especially important to us to make the trip this year.
We flew into Milwaukee on a Tuesday and drove up to Menasha, where my extended family resides. We planned to stay in a local hotel, but we could not find a single available room anywhere in the area. Turns out, we got to Wisconsin just in time for the world renowned EAA AirVenture. There were an additional 550,000 tourists in the Oshkosh area than normal, so every hotel, motel, inn, bed and breakfast, and campsite was completely booked. We finally ended up finding a room in Green Bay only because the motel had a cancelation that afternoon. It was crazy. And it did not lend well to the idea of "we'll just find something when we get there" that Derek is more fond of. I MUCH prefer to book in advance!
Hotel issues aside, the Swansons had a great two and a half days in Wisconsin. We were able to spend quite a bit of time with my grandmother and managed to visit with all relatives living in the area. I think the highlights for the dudes were riding The Deuce (see below), driving a tractor, and playing baseball with cousins. I am so glad we made it out this year, and will make the trip a priority for next summer as well.
There is a lot to do in St. Louis, so, in addition to visiting with Derek's grandmother, we fit in a lot of activities. We went to Grant's Farm, The Magic House (a children's museum), the Museum of Transportation, the Kirkwood park, and downtown to visit the St. Louis Arch. We had a great time in St. Louis, and the highlight for the boys was feeding the baby goats at Grant's Farm and visiting the Magic House.
The Fourth of July was spent in Canon City. We started the day by attending a water flight parade in which all parties leave drenched. Not too shabby for a hot day! Then we went home and cooked a ton of food. (It's so easy to be a vegetarian in America. We had veggie burgers AND sausages!) Derek's brothers family came down to celebrate the holiday. We hung out and ate way too much food. Then we went to the park, and the boys got to play in a bounce house, throw balls for a dunk tank (Owen hit it twice!), participate in sack races, and eat lots of watermelon. A very fun filled day!
We even stayed up late for the fireworks!