Saturday, November 08, 2008

Wis-CAN-sin, part one

Yes, that blog title is me poking fun of all the northern accents I encountered last week (because of course, I do not have an accent of which to poke fun!).  Funny story about accents, while we were visiting with Brian's uncle Paul & aunt Vickie, I mentioned that all I had brought with me to wear were sweaters and turtlenecks, but with the weather being so warm all week (in the 70s- it was gorgeous), I was hot.  Vickie did an aural double-take and asked me if I said I had brought Petticoats to wear!  Petticoats, turtlenecks, you can hear the similarities when laying on a thick southern drawl.  After I clarified, I quipped later that next time I'd leave both my petticoats And my slaves at home.  The northerners and southerners united in laughter over that one.

We flew into Brian's home state of Wisconsin last Friday, on Halloween.  It was Bradley's first plane ride, and I was a nervous wreck.  The plane rides went well (thanks for all the helpful advice Beth!) and we arrived in Milwaukee early Friday afternoon.  

We drove an hour-and-a-half up to Portage to have lunch with family friend Patti (the mom of Derek, Bradley's middle-namesake), her son Dustin, and husband Randy.  After not having eaten all day, that pizza was delicious!
After lunch Brian took me on a tour of Pardeeville, WI, his hometown.  I made him jump out of the car and pose next to the town sign for posterity!  He showed me the downtown area, his high school, his houses that he lived in right on the lake, and pointed out all the people who lived in the neighboring houses.  It was like Cheers- he knew everyone's name.
I spotted Bradley Farms from the road and made Brian turn around so we could take a picture of it.  Apparently Erin Bradley, a classmate of Brian, used to get fun of for sucking her fingers in elementary school girl, and her parents owned this place.  Maybe Erin and I are related, because I used to suck my fingers too!
Since we were going to be travelling, I didn't spring for the actual Halloween costume for Bradley, so instead I dressed him up in his Lion sleeper, where the face of the lion is Bradley's face, and the feet of the sleeper say 'trick' and 'treat.'  There's a tail on the backside, but you can't see that here.
We stopped at a roadside stand and got pictures of the Little Man with the pumpkins on Halloween.  
Halloween night was spent at a local dive bar with family friends, and Brian's sister Heather joined us for the festivities as well.  These were last minute plans, so rather than spend $40 a piece for costumes, Brian and I went as Hot Parents.  Nuff said.

Saturday we got up and drove a couple hours northwest to Chippewa Falls, WI to see some Air Force friends of ours from down here tie the knot.  After the shortest ceremony ever (seriously, it was about 5 minutes long) and before the reception began, we squeezed (Squoze? ha ha) in a quick visit to the Leinenkugel's brewery that's there in Chippewa Falls.  I was bummed because the tours were all booked up, but we at least got to visit the Leine Lodge, and purchased a few drinking glasses for souvenirs after sampling the local brews.  

Saturday night we drove a few hours back to Wisconsin Dells to stay and visit with Brian's uncle Mike, aunt Tina, and their boys, 12-year-old twins Alex and Chris, and 8-year-old Quincy.  Lord help me if I ever have 3 boys, because I think there must be a special place in heaven for these moms (Sandy, cousin Kara, and aunt Lisa, you all get props here too!).  I tried to understand why the city is called Wisconsin Dells, and not just Dells, but Brian pointed out other examples of cities with their state names included (NYC) so I settled with that answer.

I also did some research and Wisconsin Dells (nicknamed The Dells) is named after the Dells of the Wisconsin River.  Here the Dells are described as a 5 mile stretch of gorge carved out of the rock by glaciers.  These rocks are apparently pretty enough to attract lots of tourists and turn the town into a popular tourist destination, and warrant so many resorts and indoor water parks, that the Dells is nicknamed the water park capital of the world.  More on these water parks later.  A Dell can also be a small wooded valley, so says Wikipedia, aka the Farmer in the Dell.  

Sunday morning I woke up in bed by myself (Brian was hunting with uncle Mike) and thought to myself, it's my 28th birthday, but it sure doesn't feel like it!  I guess this is the first birthday where I wasn't home, or away at school (which I remember at the time felt weird too), but Brian made sure the day was special nonetheless.  A bunch of his family came over to visit and watch the Titans and Packers game.  I enjoyed the friendly competition and harassing his uncles when Tennessee eventually won.  
Bradley and I were the sole Titans supporters (to be fair, I put Bradley in a Packers' bib to be diplomatic)
At halftime, Brian surprised me with a birthday cake, complete with 28 pink candles, and everyone sang to me, so that was fun.

Here's Bradley with Brian's dad, Jeff
And here's Bradley with his aunt Heather, Brian's younger sister

Sunday after the game Brian's aunt Tina watched Bradley while Brian and I checked into Chula Vista resort and went to the indoor water park there.  I know that I'm not crazy about water slides, but had no idea what I was getting myself into when we went.  We just thought it was something fun and different to do for my birthday.  Well I climbed the stairs to the top platform (the stairs should have been my first clue that I was in trouble) where there were 4 slides to choose from.  However, They all started indoors, but then looped outdoors, so from inside I couldn't tell what path the slides would take.  I asked the worker at the top which was the least-scary slide, and she shrugged, so Brian and I took our double raft, and picked one at random to go down.  This turned out to be a bad choice.  I am not exaggerating when I say it was one of the top 3 scariest moments of my life.  As the slide dropped severely I was paralized by fear, unable to scream, but trying to tell myself to hold on tight and that it would soon be over.  There were moments however when I thought it would never end, and that I might die of a heart attack on this "fun" water slide.   If you look at the picture, the one we did was blue & orange.
All I can say is thank the Lord we didn't pick the dark green slide because I might not have lived to tell the tale.  Once the slide dropped us back indoors into a pool, my heart was pounding and my legs were shaking so much I could barely walk.  I ignored a lifeguard who asked if I was alright because at that point I still could not speak, much to Brian's embarassment.  I somehow managed my way out of the pool and over to the lazy river, holding onto the starir raisl for dear life, with a bewildered Brian at my side.  Apparently he thinks these scary slides are fun, and did not realize how terrified I was. 

Determined to have a good time, since it was my birthday after all, I calmed down in the lazy river and then mustered up enough courage to try all the kiddie slides, a tame indoor log ride, and even did the orange and blue slide a second time for Brian since that was the only slide that required you to have 2 people per raft.  Granted, I was almost crying and trying to back out the second time, but Brian pushed the raft into the abyss before I could climb off.  Needless to say, we did not spend that long at the water park before retreating to our room.
I snapped this picture in front of the hotel- it's a local pizza delivery car!  
After we cleaned up and got some dinner, Brian went to pick up Bradley.  It's crazy how much I miss that kid after being away from him even for a few hours.

This blog is turning into a long novel, so that's part one of our Wisconsin trip- Friday-Sunday.  More to come when I get the chance!


Rhonda said...

Great recap! Does your cake really say "from your lobster"!? LOVE IT!!!!

Anonymous said...

you dressed Bradley up as Bradley?! lol -sarahv

Katie said...

It sounds like you had a great time (minus the orange and blue slide...)! Bradley is so cute in his lion outfit! Okay who am I kidding - he is cute in anything!

MamaB said...

I enjoyed the recap of your trip. The LION picture was cute!

Mary Anna said...

Hi-larious. I'm glad you had a fabu birthday and I loved the story of you on the waterslide.

And I have to say it...forgive me...

"You have a a bar..."

Amanda Vilendrer said...

that is no bar, that is the Leinenkugel's brewery! The baby in the bar comes later at the smoky bar/wedding reception site. I was a bit unnerved.

lisathom said...

wow- lol reading the waterslide incident! glad you survived!!

Mark Kelly Hall said...

First: Happy late birthday! And you don't know old until you realize it'd be a good idea to drop your college graduation year off of your resume!

Second: Now I know why you married wanted to tell people you hooked up with the dude from Pardeeville! He must've gotten a lot of mileage out of that. Note the past tense.

Third: Putting each person's picture on his/her shirt; what a great way to keep from getting them mixed up after doing laundry!

Fourth: Hey, slides aren't for everyone; there's a reason people live on the ground. Bravery takes on many forms.

Fifth: Now we see the wisdom in having TWO Tennessee football teams! Doubles the odds of having one to celebrate! But I'm still loyal to UTK, of course. I feel for Phil Fulmer in a way (though not financially); he welcomed campus ministries to try to reach his players when he started...and there are only so many ways to finesse a firing on your resume when it's international news!