After being away from home for eight days we came home for one night and left again the next day. This time Scott had a job in Madison.
Before my job at a hotel on the outskirts of Madison, I thought we could have breakfast as a family.
We found this breakfast spot near our hotel called the Jet Room. You get to watch the airplanes take off and land. The kids got little airplanes too.
We only saw private planes, but it still was fun.
Somehow there's no pictures of the food, but the breakfast was quite good.
While Scott worked, the kids and I went to the Madison Children's Museum. I had been wanting to take them to a children's museum for so long so it was fun to try out this one.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a whole exhibit dedicated to Frank Lloyd Wright.
A side note. Many of the great architects of modernist movements started by playing with froebel blocks. They were the heart of early kindergarten education.
I loved all the details of course.
Then Meadow found her happy place. She can create almost anything out of found objects.
Theo stuck to his favorite thing at first.
Then Theo joined her once all the other kids left the table.
We took a snack break. The kids were too excited to play and left me.
Outside they had a log cabin to play in. Meadow loves this type of stuff too.
They always love to clean up messes when we are somewhere other than home.
I thought we would have stayed at the museum for a couple hours but we spent most of our day there.
Next, I took the kids to State Street. Once I got my drivers license I would drive down to Madison just to go shopping on State Street.
The things you learn.
We passed a boba tea shop so I had to get one for Meadow.
I was saddened to see that these three buildings are slated to be knocked down soon to build a new apartment complex.
We could have gotten this sticker if we actually ate at Ian's instead of Noodles like the kids decided.
I cannot believe Meadow didn't talk Brooke into this.
It seemed like there were a lot more empty storefronts and homeless people from what I remember.
I mean, you could say that about just about every American big city.
My shoot took the entire day and into the early evening. So, I missed all the Madison adventure. 😢
The next day we headed into Milwaukee.
Yay, we hadn't been here since my dad passed and my mom sold the house.
That was back right after Theo was born. We talked about going down for the day the next time we visit my parents. Since we needed to go to Madison we decided to spend a couple days in Milwaukee to show the kids around.
We ended up in Cudahy since the nearest camping was just south of my hometown.
First stop. Breakfast.
We wanted to eat at Cudahy's Pancake House, but it was closed for the owner's vacation. So we went down old Packard Avenue and ate at Andrea's.
We'd sometimes end up here after a musical back in high school.
Not bad Cudahy, not bad.
We then needed to figure out a place to stay. With it being the weekend and Summerfest, most places were booked. We figured worst case we would just drive back up to my parents house but ended up finding a spot.
Well, I thought we might be able to get a spot at Cliffside Park Campground on the border of Milwaukee and Racine Counties. Cliffside was indeed full, so we went to the other campground on the south side of Racine County at Sanders Park. This was right down the street from my grandparents place. When I told my mom about where we were, she told me she would camp here with my great-grandparents. Her grandparents were even members of a camping club at the park.
Once we set up camp we headed back into Milwaukee for beer of course.
A high school friend from South Milwaukee always drinks at 1840, so I thought we'd try it. Any excuse to hang out in Bay View, tbh.
Brooke and the kiddos played Guess Who? while I tried to figure out what else we should do.
Nice space for a beer, just don't miss the inconspicuous door.
This game got pretty crazy.
We could use their bike share and put Theo in the basket right?
They should have bike share bikes for families with kids. Then we'd totally do this. The only time I've ever used bike share is in Miami when I was on a work trip. Just doesn't work for our lifestyle.
I wanted to check out Lakefront Brewery. Despite their name their taproom is on the river. There was a 40 minute wait to get a table so we decided to skip it.
I also just wasn't that into it. It's kind of like the Summit or Surly of Milwaukee. Yeah, it's good, but you can do better.
We walked across the river and went to Eagle Park Brewing.
A flight of beer tasting beer? Why, yes, I will take that.
The kids shared giant pretzels.
Brooke and I shared the rueben nachos.
It was so good.
It was intense. It was intense and good.
Some parts of Milwaukee just feel so much more urban than Minneapolis. That's what you get when you're more than 30 years older.
Under the bridge was a little playground.
This was a great use for an underutilized area under the Holton Avenue Bridge.
There's also a pedestrian bridge under the main bridge that takes you right from Riverwest to the Lower East Side.
Next we went over to South Shore Park to possibly swim.
The water was kind of gross so we stayed near shore.
The kids would've dove in, but yeah, it was icky.
I worked out of this park for the last few years of high school and the years I returned to Milwaukee for the summer.
I just love that all the parks have biergartens in the summer.
When in Milwaukee you have to go to Kopp's. Meadow asked why the entryway was like that. I said the Kool Aid man must have been here.
Still doing it's best to be surreal.
Meadow has been here many times in her life but had no memory of it.
This was Theo's first time he'd ever tasted the best custard (or ice cream really) in the world.
Great frozen custard. Better people watching.
There used be a gas station on the corner and the owner turned it into some sort of zen garden. After indulging we made our way back to Racine.
Since we were staying near Racine, you know we had to get Kringle for breakfast.
We usually get O & H, but passed Lehmann's on the way to the highway.
We ate a small kringle in their little seating area.
After driving around Racine, we spotted an O and H Bakery. Which means? More Kringle!
Well, I wanted a kringle sticker for our rooftop box. Unfortunately they didn't have any. How's a guy supposed to share his super fandom?
Anyways, we bought another kringle for later and headed for Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood once again.
Then it was time for real breakfast.
It turns out that Honeypie recently moved to a bigger location.
The kids were excited and also the only children in sight.
That's typical for most places we take them.
The food here is oh so good.
We drove over to Humboldt Park where I started my parkee career. They did not have this fancy playground back in my day.
We attempted some geocaching but couldn't find anything. Plus it seemed like someone may have been living in here.
Before we left the great city of Milwaukee we had to get more frozen custard. Scott was disappointed that we were coming here during the day and not at night.
It just doesn't have the same vibes
It was hot and the custard was even meltier than usual.
The ice cream was melting too fast for all of us.
We got in touch with two of my good high school and childhood friends, Krystal and Jeremy. There were camping this weekend and said we could come meet them. We met them at Mauthe Lake in the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Jeremy's parents were even there, which was a welcome surprise.
Eventually the kids warmed up to each other.
We spent an hour or two swimming and hanging out in the shade. We hadn't seen these folks for about six years. Meadow was little last time we saw Krystal. Now they had kids Theo's age and Meadow was 10!
Until next time.
Next we headed over to Kohler-Andrae State Park to camp. My sister later mentioned they had planned to camp here this weekend but everything was booked weeks ago. We made our reservation the day before and lucked out I guess.
Well, it's a lot easier to book one night at a popular state park. Jeremy's parents raved about Kohler-Andrae and we have to agree. One of the best state parks and campgrounds we've been to in Wisconsin.
We also had the best campsite as it was by far the most private. Not sure the purpose of this giant deck though.
Before it got dark we had to go see Lake Michigan.
It was just down the hill from our campsite.
The kids are always happiest by water.
Twilight was over before we knew it and we went back to our campsite.
When we stopped at the park to see Krystal and Jeremy the ranger gave the kids booklets.
You know what that means: more badges.
Overnight it got really windy then died down by sunrise.
It was forecast to downpour, but never did.
Kringle for breakfast!
The kids worked on their booklets while we packed up.
After wishing we had a chair on our canoe trip I picked up this compact chair at Walmart. It's not as lightweight as some of the more expensive brands, but it works.
Before leaving we needed to finish our booklets.
Theo loved building with these. We could totally have these at the cottage.
Or the backyard.
Much to the dismay of the kids, we went on a short hike.
Jeremy's parents raved about the chordwalk. So, yeah, we had to check it out.
We weaved through the dunes before heading back to the park building.
Then the kids earned their badges! Now we need to collect all three.
After driving around nearby Kohler we dropped the kids off at my parents house.
Can I just say that Kohler is very weird. Just a glorified country club. We tried finding somewhere to get brats in neighboring Sheboygen, but settled on tacos.
Scott has to travel again for work and I didn't want to take anymore time off.
So Theo and Meadow both spent the week at G.G. and Grandpa's.
This will be the first time Theo is away from us for more than one night.