Saturday, January 4, 2014

Madison, WI in Wintertime

I wish I could figure out how to make the first photo move down a notch, but I can't.  So we get to start with a photo instead of text.

The day after Christmas, we all got up early, loaded up our car and drove to Las Vegas to catch a flight to Milwaukee.  Well, not ALL of us went.  Eric got to go to Madison to visit the Rossaman's in July, so he got to stay home in December to tend the homestead for us.  And his Grandma's place.  Grandma L was nice enough to take us along with her to go visit Katie.  Or we accompanied her. Or something of that nature.  I played travel agent for this one, ordered the plane tickets and opted for non-stop flight and we went Southwest.  I took care of a car rental in Milwaukee (Southwest doesn't fly to Madison) and other than an extremely long wait at the car rental counter, we got to Kate's house in fairly good time.  She had a nice dinner all ready for us when we got there about 6:30 p.m. or so.  Casey got home from work shortly after that.

 We spent Thursday evening and all day Friday, just hanging out at Katie's house.  She lives on the second floor of a four-plex (two up and two down apts.).  Their's is a two bedroom, one bath, but even with three extra people and luggage, it didn't feel too terribly crowded.  That's the nice thing about having a small house to begin with.

 Katie and I were so very proud of our accomplishment when we put the United States Puzzle together.  Hayden is able to do it, too, with a little help from his dad.  Corbin likes to take it apart.

 We used the freezing cold porch/balcony for extra fridge space and a squirrel  came investigating.  We thought it was cute until I realized that one of the items in the bag outside was a loaf of bread!  Well, after that, we put the groceries in one of her storage bins (all her empties are piled on the porch).  And we never saw the squirrel again.
 Well, it's just funny when you end up all brushing your teeth together.  It just doesn't happen very often.

 I got a pair of black boots for Christmas. Katie was wearing her black boots for our excursion on Saturday.  Saturday was the warmest day while we were in Wisconsin.  It was the only day we made an outing with kids and Grandma.  We went to the Madison Children's Museum and the Olbrich Botanical Gardens.  Below are photos taken at the Gardens.  They had a nice little candy land train set up in one area, and the regular arboretum (?) in the other area. A hot house, basically--but with birds and critters like frogs, etc.  It was really fun.

Checking out the trains.

A "gingerbread" reindeer made out of graham crackers.  

I thought this gingerbread house had kind of a Frank Lloyd Wright look about it.  FLW does have roots here in Madison.

Hayden's pointing to fish in the pond.

This hot house was such a respite from the cold.  Though Grandma was bundled and inside most of the time we were in Wisconsin, she did notice the cold.  Cold is cold to me.  I ride me bike when it's freezing.

 Madison Children's Museum was our next stop.  Below is a picture of me wearing a real mink stole. Remember those?  Beady eyes and all.

 Mike was driving our rental car and we were following Casey and Katie and boys in their car while determining where to park when we got to see Casey do some pretty remarkable defensive driving.  Scarey to us to see them nearly run over by a large flat bed truck.  We were all stopped at a light and the big truck decided to turn right from the left hand lane.  Only Casey was in the center lane, apparently in his blind spot. Anyway, Casey managed to not get crunched by only an inch or two to spare.  A miss is a miss!
Hayden was beginning his ascent into the towers and tunnels and slide in this play area.  The first time he hopped into the driver's seat of this cut-away car, then to the back and up the tube, got about as far as he is in this photo and stopped.  He looked at me, slid down and said, "I've got to go get my mom!"  It was just too fun NOT to share!! 

Corbin on a climbing wall.  Climbing, crawling, pretending, creating, learning, name it, they had it at this place!  It was great.  This floor was geared for younger kids.  It had the cutest stuffed chicken toy, play eggs, an African mud hut, water play and more.

Hayden't getting ready to go down the slide.  The slide looked like it was covered in a snake (or dragon?) skin.

Casey squeezed on into the climbing apparatus and joined the kids and even went down the slide!  All the kids got a kick out of that.  They all came to his rescue when he claimed to be "stuck" in one of the tunnels. :-)

This is a scene out of one of the windows.  Extra tall street signs with fun quotes and words on them.  And, yes, it is snowy cold outside.

The entrance and front desk area had this interesting "cabinet" facing.  These are covers of Reader's Digest Condensed Books.

We brought a snack-y lunch and ate it at the museum.  Katie and Casey.


Corbin, too busy playing with cogs and wheels to eat lunch.

We went up to the rooftop level and donned some outer wear that was ethnic.

All our coats were on the first floor with Grandma (she did minimal walking about, as did Mike)

The snowy rooftop had this really cool crow's nest with flags to raise and lower and a telescope to look out of. Nice view from the top.

Corbin's taking a closer look at the ice fishermen we could see on Lake Monona nearby.

There was a grass hut.  Casey is peering inside.

And this is who he saw!  Hayden said it was the three pig's straw house.

The capital building is close by.

AND, there was a child-sized ice-skating rink  up there,too.

The skates had double blades for balance, but the straps didn't hold them very well, and it was cold in the shade, so we didn't stay long up there.  We did check out the chicken coop, pigeon coop and the little greenhouse and science place where they have some animals (rats, turtles, snakes, etc. in terrariums)

Katie putting on Corbin's skates and helmet (all provided)
We were all very impressed by the Madison Children's Museum.  It was a lot of fun and I hope they are able to get a membership next time they go.

We attended Church with their family on Sunday.  They are in the Madison 2nd ward, both have callings they enjoy and the ward is so friendly and growing (4 convert baptisms within the past few months).  They do love that part about their lives far away in the north.  Casey loves his job, too, and now that Katie is back at home and not working outside the home other than piano lessons, she is loving that part, as well.

We tried our hands at some video games.  Not really. I watched Hayden play "Bee-o" games.

I think this was Sunday afternoon. Some things never change, do they? Zzzzzz

Casey got 4 old movies for Christmas, and Berenice really wanted to watch them.  She did (and we all did) watch all four of them.  This is how she watches movies.  ZZZzzzzz  The same way Mike watches football games.  Zzzz

New Year's Eve we had a bunch of snacks and stuff.

 I didn't think to take a picture on Monday, but Jeff and Doris Master and their two grown children drove down from Fon Du Lac to have lunch and visit.  We knew them when we lived in HI and have corresponded over the years, seen them once or twice since HI. It was fun to visit and catch up.

That evening, a friend from the ward, Annie, came over with her daughter for Pizza and games.  She is the Queen of Games and we played some new ones to us.  "Ticket to Ride" which is similar to Settlers.  "Word on the Street" was the other one we played.  She showed us another that was similar to "Apples to Apples" but I don't recall the name.
Snuggle time!
 New Year's day we packed and got ready for our trip home.  We went out to eat at Culvers for lunch. It's a midwestern burger place that is quite good. All the time we were in Cottage Grove with Katie and Family, we were mostly in their house.  The temperature outside (other than that one Saturday) was nearly always single digits and frequently negative.  But her house was cozy and we were quite comfy!

Mike went out to buy a newspaper about every day, and he and I both went to the grocery store once or twice with Katie, but other than that and church on Sunday and our Saturday excursion, it truly was just spent "chillin' " (but not literally), eating, visiting, playing games, eating, putting away her Christmas decos, watching movies.  And eating.  Did I mention we ate a lot?  Katie and I both gained about 10 pounds over the holidays.

I was afraid with all the sub-zero weather and snow flitting that our flight would be delayed.  Originally, our flight WAS on time.  We boarded first, sat down and then found out that a Delta flight had blown THREE tires when landing and was kind of skee-wampus and blocking a runway partway.  So about the time we were going down the jet way, they were closing the airport to all incoming and outgoing air traffic till they decided what to do about the Delta plane and its passengers.  We left about 50 minutes later, after they plowed another runway.

When we first got to the airport in Milwaukee, Mike returned the rental car after dropping me and his mom and all our luggage off curbside.  We met up at the security screening place.  The sign above these benches just cracked me up.

You know how everything just gets so dis-combobulated when you have to pass through security?  Here's the solution:
Note what the sign above Mike's head says.
A place to recombobulate!  HA!
We were back home in Cedar City by about midnight and it felt good to be home in our own beds.  I took off the 2nd of January to put my Christmas decos away and to catch up on laundry, dishes, etc.

And on Friday the 3rd, it was back to the real world and I headed back to work.  Christmas vacation was wonderful and I'm so glad we were able to spend so much time with family, far and near.


Tandy said...

Did you know that our kids got a US puzzle for Christmas? They have put it together several times. It's a big floor puzzle and they have a great time with it!
I noticed Gma in a wheelchair at the airport... recombobulating... :o) I was surprised at that. I don't really know why, but I never imagine her even needing one.
Glad you all had a great time.

Katie said...

It was SOOOO nice to have you all here! Thank you for posting my fat pictures;) Oh well, I'm only hanging onto about 4 of those 11 lbs I gained! Yikes.