This was kind of a whirlwind, last minute trip. Jocko has been wanting to go to a college volleyball camp this summer, but the money just isn't there. Then, he worked for 2 days at my brother's company and made nearly $300, the cost of one of the camps. Normally, we make the boys save about half of what they earn, but I told him that if he wanted to go to the camp, he could use his earnings to pay for it and I'd drive him there. He took me up on the offer.
Of course, Oshkosh, where the camp was held, is a 7 hour drive from our house. Just as money for volleyball camp is scarce, so is money for hotel rooms! Luckily, my good friend Ellie lives in Appleton, WI. My Wisconsin geography knowledge is almost nonexistant, but a quick mapquest showed that the two cities are only about 30 minutes apart. Score!
It was a heck of a weekend. Drive-in til 1 a.m. on Friday, Tour de Donut and volleyball on Saturday, and then leaving at 7 a.m. on Sunday. Jocko didn't have to be at camp (7 hour drive) until 5, but we were supposed to drop off some food on the way to my cousin who was injured in a camping accident (exploding camp stove); plus, I overnighted the camp registration 5 days before the camp started, and I was concerned about a) finding where the heck he was supposed to sign in and b) problems with him attending.
We were all worn out after the weekend!
Our first hitch was when we got to my cousin's house in Springfield, only to find out that it was the wrong address. When I called her actual house, her stepmother told me she was back in the hospital and this was not a good time to bring anything by. So, after a 45-minute detour for nothing, we just took the food on up to Wisconsin and provided dinner for two of our nights there. We stopped in Rockford for lunch at Old Chicago. My older boys' dad used to live there, and this is a favorite restaurant of theirs. Because we'd left ourselves plenty of time, I felt OK about stopping for a longer meal than usual on a road trip.
We got to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh a little after 4 and started going from building to building, looking for where we were supposed to be. It only took us two buildings/questions to get the answer from some (by the looks of them) participants in a football camp. Despite my fears, we had no problems getting Jocko signed in, and then we headed up to the 8th floor of the residence hall to his dorm room.
Ah...dorm life! Don't you love the look on his face? Just take the picture and get it over with, Mom.
We had a great, relaxing visit with my friends. We weren't super busy, but we did just enough. On Monday, we went to Lake Michigan. Perhaps not the best day to go (my plan) since the day, though sunny and beautiful, hit a high of about 74 degrees by the lake. Along with the breezes, we were pretty cool. And the water...well, I didn't need any ice baths that day! Even so, we had a great time...
...even playing in the water!
Old friends are the best! :)
We enjoyed some ice cream after our time at the beach.
Tuesday we went for a hike. This trail is about 5 minutes from Ellie's house.
If I lived nearby, I'd love to trail run here. It had some super steep portions, but they were relatively short, and the path was wide and even.
After lunch, we went to a local pool. Hamlet spent a lot of time swimming with the kids, and Jr. has gotten to be a good enough swimmer that, while I keep an eye on him the whole time, I don't have to be right there anymore. It was nice to get to sit and relax and talk with Ellie.
The kids went down the water slide about a thousand times.
Hamlet took Jr. on the diving board for the first time, and he was hooked.
When we weren't off swimming or hiking, the kids spent a lot of time on the trampoline.
Yeah, I know it's a cruddy picture, but I was being dive-bombed by ravenous, bird-sized mosquitos.
We also played a lot of cards. Hamlet is now a big fan of Euchre, which is kind of funny because I was a terrible Euchre player in college. Since we played drinking Euchre, where you had to drink for every point you lost, that game had a big role in his conception. I opted not to share that tidbit with him.
We had to pick up Jocko on Wednesday, so we went a little early so that we could watch the tournament play at the end of camp. Well, some of us watched.
Junior opted to play with his action figures. To be honest, I don't blame him. Most of the kids at the camp were nowhere near Jocko's caliber of player. We need to get him to a tougher camp next year. That's on my savings list.
At the end of camp, though, I was proud when my baby was announced as one of the camp all-stars.
After they'd passed out other awards and he hadn't been selected, I had kind of decided he wasn't getting anything. I just barely got this picture snapped. That's him behind the girl in the green shorts.
We got home right about midnight. Much faster drive home than there, but boy was I ready to get out of the car! I'd MUCH rather ride my bike for 7 hours than drive/ride in a car for 7 hours!! I'm very thankful for Hamlet driving nearly halfway. What a great kid! And a lifesaver, yesterday.