The “Big Trip” – Part 1

As parents there are not many times that you can surprise your kids, especially when they start to get older.  Chris and I actually got to plan, and execute a pretty big surprise for our kiddos this past Thanksgiving.  For about two months we had known that we were going to the Wisconsin Dells Wilderness Resort with the Wilken’s  for Thanksgiving. We decided to extend the trip a biy for our family and travel to the Twin Cities, Rhinelander WI, and then hit the Dells. Knowing my kiddos well, I knew they might not be able to fully enjoy all the stops prior to the Dells if they knew that was our final destination. So Chris and I called”The Dells” our sudo name of, “Frankfort”, and told everyone we knew to not tell the kids. It did help that they don’t have a firm grasp on time and dates. Even so, it was hard not to let the Cat out of the Bag.  The kids were excited to leave and go to multiple hotels and Norah coined the name, “Big Trip” for our Thanksgiving vacation.  The day we were leaving she woke up and said, “It is time for our Big Trip?”

Logistics that made this trip go smoothly:

  • We took the Truck and packed everything in crates.
  • We packed our clothes “Duggar” style, which means we put one set of clothing per person in the same bag  for each day of the trip. Then we just brought 1 bag in for that nights stay.
  • We used vacuum bags that you can roll the air out of so they took up less space.
  • We broke up the trip so there was never longer than 4 hours of car travel at a time (Except our last leg home)
  • Decorating journals and bringing them along to draw on for the trip! ( These were just composition notebooks covered with scrapbook paper)
  • I packed the truck with a good mix of Movies, games, and travel toys for the truck.


Hit List of Sites:

  1. IKEA– Chris and I hadn’t been to IKEA in 2 1/2 years. It’s tricky and tiring to do it with kids but it can be done. Only one paper cut had by Norah and one point where both Leeland and Norah where both crying and inconsolable!
  2. MALL OF AMERICA– Didn’t know how this would go with kids but they liked the freedom to walk the halls and loved riding escalators.  We visited the American Girl Doll Store (managed to walk out of there with only brushes 🙂 Lego land was fun and we let the kids play on the free building tables for a while. We also had yummy Gelato for dessert. It was amazing!
  3. COMO ZOO and CONSERVATORY– This was my pick. After a day of being in stores I knew the kids needed to play and see nature.  We spent 3 hours there walking through different plant rooms, seeing animals, visiting the play area, and visiting the different animals in the winter. Leeland loved the fish and turtles, Norah really wanted to see the Giraffe and Lillian enjoyed it all.

Favorite Quotes:

Chris: Look out your window girls and you can see the city and the tall buildings!
Lillian: I can only see a wall (the wall that runs along the interstate)

Chris: Look at that interesting building (referring to an art building on the campus of UofM.)
Norah: Why does it look like it’s falling down?




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