Vacation started with the 4th of July parade in Garnavillo. Ian got so much candy, even stopping two-thirds of the way through the parade because, "My hands are tired and I can't pick up any more candy." Fine by me. Annaliese watched most of the parade from Darrin's lap.
Following the parade, we headed to a park/cabin the family friends own. There we met up with their kids and grandkids for great food, Kaboda/Gator rides around the property, s'mores, and creek stomping. Last year Ian accidentally fell in the creek so we came prepared this year with his swimsuit and old shoes to wear. Annaliese and Walter had a great time splashing in the shallow part. Ian had said he wanted s'mores, but in all actuality, he parked himself at the table and ate cookies instead. His favorite thing was riding around the park, going on four different trips.
That night we went to Monona for fireworks. Ian spent the time leading up to the show chasing fireflies and rhyming lots and lots of words. It seems like with every sentence he says, he take the last word in the sentence and rhymes with it. At times it can be a bit annoying, but it makes me smile, too, seeing how much fun he has. When the fireworks started, the rhyming stopped for a bit, until he was bored by them, and then it picked back up. As always, I had lots of fun shooting pictures of the fireworks.
The next day, we headed out with Marlena, Noah, and Walter to Pike's Peak in McGregor to take in some views of the Mississippi and walk the trails. Ian had just been there a few days before with my dad, so he served as our park ranger guide.
After a quick run for groceries, we picnicked at Fort Fun in Prairie. Ian had a blast running around the structure chasing Noah and pretending it was a pirate ship. He was also a very determined little boy on the balance beam, trying over and over again until he could make it to the end. Annaliese actually tolerated the swinging and didn't scream or want to get out.
That night (Tuesday) we camped on some land Darrin's parents own. It was the first time camping for Ian, Annaliese, or Walter, and they all did so well. We learned a lot about cooking over the fire that night and the next morning. For supper, we had pizza casserole in a dutch oven. We were not completely prepared for removing/cooking with the heat that intense. Luckily my father-in-law has well stocked shed and a pitchfork worked perfectly for removing the pan from the fire pit. Ian got a chance to do sparklers after it got dark, and he again chased lightening bugs and rhymed. Annaliese surprisingly didn't seem to have any more of a problem falling asleep in the tent as she does at home. Cooking breakfast the next morning went much better, as we learned from the night before. Annaliese loved the pancakes Noah made over the fire.