Our trip home was so wonderful, but it went by so quickly!
First, we had a bit of a reality check when we were in the Anchorage airport on our way to Minneapolis. Of course Brian and I were so excited to have a taste of fast food after our four/five month deprivation, so as soon as we arrived in Anchorage we began planning our pit stop at McDonalds. We planned that we would locate our gate and then stop at McDonalds to pick up a quick bite. As we passed McDonalds we noted that we had about 20/30 minutes before our plane would be leaving, so we continued to the gate just to make sure that it was fairly close before we got our food. Surprisingly the person working at the desk checking boarding passes was very excited that we had finally made it and rushed us onto the plane! Once we were in our seats it hit us that boarding is usually 30-45 minutes before the plane is actually supposed to leave! It's a good thing that we are getting out of the village once in a while!
On our way to visiting Wisconsin, we stopped in Minneapolis to drop off Sophie (our cat) with Brian's aunt and uncle while we continued on to Florida for a few days. After Uncle Pete had left with Sophie, we discovered that our large piece of luggage had not arrived in Minneapolis with us. Since we didn't know the address of the place that we would be staying in Florida, and we weren't sure when our luggage would actually make it, we told the airline staff that we would pick up our luggage when we came back to Minneapolis in a few days. So, we flew into Ft. Myers, checked in at our hotel, and immediately went shopping. We pretty much had nothing! I was just happy that I had decided against wearing my boots especially when stepped out of the airport in Ft. Myers; it was roughly 85/90 degrees! The warmest that it had reached before we left Koliganek was maybe 60 degrees! We bought shorts and swimsuits at Target (it was a "super" Target, and I was so happy to be in such a wonderful shopping facility finally!!!), and we were set for time spent on the beach with our friends Ross and Andie when they arrived in Ft. Myers the next day! We stayed at a condo that is owned by Ross' aunt on Sanibel Island. It was so beautiful! We had such a wonderful time soaking up the sun on the beach that was bordering the property of the condo!
When we finally made it back to Minneapolis (after an extra night stay in Miami due to issues with our plane in Ft. Myer) where we picked up Sophie and then rushed to La Crosse for my cousins graduation party. Brian and I were so happy to see our families again, but only a few short days later, we left for a trip to the Boundary Waters. We went with our friends Ross and Andie as we do every summer, and we also went with a childhood friend of Brian and Ross, Adam. We put in at Kawishiwi and made our way to another lake that I can't remember the name. We had a great experience; we saw so much wildlife this time! A couple of the boys saw a moose right in our camp, we all experienced the Grey Jays eating out of Brian and Ross' hands, there were around 40 butterflies in one small area of our site, we saw chipmunks and baby turtles, we caught perch, walleye, northern, smallies, and suckers, and there was our returning friend, Gilbert, the 50 lb. snapping turtle that continued to attack our fish!
I was so happy to squeeze in a trip to the cities with my sisters while I was home! We had an interesting time getting up there; we got lost several times! But we finally made it about an hour and a half before the Mall of America was going to close, and we savored every minute of it. When the stores had closed, we found a restaurant that was still open and spent some time having dinner and chatting. It was really fun! The best part, however, was when we went back to the hotel and played a game that we loved as children! Of course we had to reread the directions, but we had a great time playing "Jewels in the Attic!" We were able to get in a couple more hours of shopping the next morning before we had to get Sarah home for work. We had such a wonderful time!!!
We were also able to sneak in a trip to Madison to visit Brian's brothers and sister. We weren't there for more than a few hours when my mom called about a problem with the bridesmaids' dresses. I had to leave right away to get it straightened out, but Brian was able to stay and get some fishing in with his brother and brother-in-law. He will have to elaborate on the fishing experience.
Katie (my sister) got married on June 22nd, so we spent some time helping prepare for that. It was a very beautiful ceremony and reception. There was a bit of an issue with the unity candles almost burning down the church, but one of the fearless bridesmaids stepped in to save the day by blowing out the candle! The reception was held in a place called the Party Barn. It was decorated beautifully thanks to the parents and everyone who helped put the decorations up! The food was amazing, and we danced all night! Katie looked beautiful right to the end!
The day of the gift opening, I took Sarah to the emergency room to have an ear ache looked at. Of course she had a case of swimmers ear where the doctor recommended that she not submerge her head in any water for at least a week. This was the day before we left on a family trip to the Dells. The entire family (my parents, both of my sisters, my sister's husband, my other sister's boyfriend, and me and Brian) stayed in an amazing room at Glacier Canyon. There are so many waterparks right on site that kept us so busy. One of the days, the boys went golfing, and the girls went shopping! We all had so much fun! On the last day, everyone except my parents went golfing again.
The time that we spent in Wisconsin went by so quickly that we weren't able to get in everything that we wanted to. However, Brian was able to sneak in a couple of quick trips to Cabellas, and I was able to convince Brian and Ross to leave me at the mall one day so that I could spend some real quality time shopping all by myself. I forgot to mention the crazy bachelorette party that Katie had; it was a luau with a Passion Party!
It was really difficult for me to leave when it was time. I miss my family so much when I'm not with them, but I know that I will be able to see them again briefly in October when we are back for Brian's brother's wedding.