Lucien and I took a three-week trip to Wisconsin in January to visit my parents and to hunt for houses, because – sing it to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell” – “We’re moving in July, we’re moving in July, everybody clap your hands, hip, hip hooray!”
We took the nine-hour red-eye flight from Honolulu to O’Hare, and arrived in Chicago in the early morning dark. Lucien is such a boss traveler! Grandma and Grandpa made sure that Lucien was all prepared with lots of warm winter clothes, so we bundled up and went outside to play with the snow until our bus arrived. (Well, we stopped at the Starbucks by baggage claim before going outside, because mama didn’t weather the flight quite as well as Lucien!) We boarded the bus, and Lucien insisted that he wasn’t tired. See?
Thankfully we both got a little rest and were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to greet Grandma and Grandpa at the bus station in Janesville. We headed right back to the farm. Lucien absolutely loves the farm! He loves playing with Grandma and Grandpa. He loves playing with Dakota the dog and Zoey and Zander cats. He was especially enamored with the baby chicks.
Shortly after we arrived, a shipment of 75 “teeny tiny brand new baby chicks” also arrived and took up residence in the basement. Multiple times per day, every day we were there, Lucien informed me that we needed to check on the baby chicks; he then faithfully refilled all of the water bottles and food containers. He was delighted to pet and then hold the chicks – he was ever so gentle with them – and he thought it hysterical when one of the chicks flapped up his arm to his head. As the chicks got bigger and attempted to fly out of their buckets he had lots of fun shooing them all back in. (I regret to say that I got no pictures of him with the baby chicks – but I was too busy enjoying our time together!)
We visited three different area libraries while we were in Wisconsin, enjoyed story times at all of them, and checked out piles upon piles of books. We also played puzzles and trains and doll house and rice bin, and enjoyed the company of some other friendly kids. I love to hear Lucien singing the songs from story time, and making up his own verses – he is such a creative boy, and I can tell his mind is just constantly working.
This was our new favorite book. I have always loved the song, Lucien loved listening to the CD, and I adore the illustrations in this book – especially the final page, when Jackie Paper introduces his daughter to Puff. I was never very emotional before I became a mother, but I teared up every time I sang it with Lucien! “A dragon loves forever, but not so little boys.” So true, and he is growing up so quickly.
We celebrated a belated Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa, so Lucien had lots and lots of new toys to play with. Play doh is always a win with him. He was thrilled with the toy ice cream. Books and marbles and bubbles also went over very well.
His favorite play items at the farm, though, were the paper muffin liners and muffin tins. He made the most elaborate bake shop, and played for hours! Trying to make dinner was a bit tricky, though ….
Another Christmas gift was passes to the Madison Children’s Museum. We made a day of it. What a blast Lucien, Grandpa, and I had! Tape art, painting, magna tiles, ball wall, a huge selection of activities to enjoy together!
We also had to go to the Rockford Children’s Discovery Center. We had a membership when Lucien was younger and we used to live in Wisconsin, and when we come back we just have to visit, it is so much fun. Now that he is older he can enjoy it so much more. He spent a great deal of time in the farm exhibit, gathering eggs, milking cows, and moving grain. Turbulent orb, water table, train, and basketball were some of the other attractions.
While we were in Wisconsin we also celebrated Grandpa’s birthday. Lucien enjoyed helping me pick out and wrap presents for Grandpa – he is so thoughtful! And he loved baking primal chocolate cupcakes. Well, mostly he loved eating them!
We also made a couple of trips to Oshkosh to look for houses. Lucien was such a good sport on the two-hour drive, and during the long process of viewing (lots of) houses. We found one we liked, put an offer in, and after an obscenely long negotiation process, I am thrilled to say that the sellers accepted our offer!
The house is so incredibly Lucien-friendly. It has a front porch with a swing, a fenced back yard with a swing set. I finally get my white pocket fence! It has three bedrooms, a mostly finished basement, a toy room on the first floor, and a huge kitchen for our cooking adventures! It has a big open staircase that I know Lucien will enjoy running up and down, hardwood floors throughout, and a mud room space for all our grubby outdoor clothes.
And get this – our mortgage – on a 15-year note – insurance, and taxes – is less than half of what we are currently paying in rent. And we will finally have a secure, permanent place that we can call home. I am ready to break into song and dance, I am so thrilled.
And I will leave you with my favorite Lucien picture from our trip. Barefoot in the Wisconsin winter (We thought that natural consequences would lead him to wear shoes, but we were wrong.), sporting upside-down sunglasses and noshing on pork rinds. This kid has spunk and style!