The majority of the "vacations" that I've taken within the last 12 years have a purpose - like homeschooling; two adoptions; and driving my parents, Sophia, and Olivia to a place where my parents wanted to visit, but could no longer drive because my Dad had Alzheimer's Disease and Mom had vision issues.
Some of the trips that Sophia, Olivia, and I went on with my parents were to:
- Pella, Iowa, to see the tulips
Sophia and Olivia by the tulips.
(April 2009 - Sophia was 8 and Olivia was 6)
Dad and Mom walking together.
Sophia carrying water pails.
- The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and southwestern Wisconsin/southeastern Minnesota
Sophia, Olivia, Dad, Mom, and me outside the chapel at
The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
(July 20, 2010 - Sophia was 9 and Olivia was 7)
Some of the many candles on the four-sided structure
at The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
It was beautiful with many of the candles lit.\
On our way to The Shrine, we visited the
National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota.
Olivia is standing very still next to the eagle.
(She was 7 years old in July 2010.)
- Grand Marais, Minnesota
Having a picnic outside the museum
at the end of the Gunflint Trail.
The table was near the shores of Lake Saganaga,
where my Dad took many camping and canoeing trips
from the 1960s to 1980s.
He had not been there since the late 1980s,
so I wanted to take him back to the spot he enjoyed so much.
Mom, Dad, Sophia, Olivia, and me at Lake Saganaga in Grand Marais.
This was the last trip that we took together with my Dad
before Alzheimer's Disease made
overnight or multi-day travel too difficult.
(Taken September 8, 2010)
One of the places that I have enjoyed going to for true vacations - time away from home without any learning/caregiving purposes - is Grand Marais.
I look back on the trips I've taken there since the late 1990s (sometimes alone; other times with Sophia and/or Olivia - depending on the year and how old the girls were), and enjoyed remembering some of the places I stopped to enjoy the beauty of the area:
Purple flower with spider web
in the spring.
A day at the beach at Cut Face Creek
with Sophia and Olivia.
(June 16, 2006 - Sophia was 5 and Olivia was 3)
"Chippy" - who the girls enjoyed feeding in September 2010.
It was very friendly and came right up to us.
Rocks at Artists Point on Lake Superior.
There are many rock sculptures here.
The girls playing in Lake Superior.
(Taken on September 9, 2010 -
when they were 9 and 7 years old.)
Sophia and Olivia playing in the early-summer flowers.
(Taken on June 16, 2006 - when they were 5 and 3 years old.)
A view of the Lake Superior shoreline.
I'm hoping to go back to Grand Marais sometime this late-fall. It's been almost two years now since I've been there. It will be emotionally-difficult trip since the last time I went there my Dad was with us...but it is also one I need to make as part of the grieving process and healing journey.
The beauty and tranquility of Grand Marais and the surrounding area is something I also greatly miss; and always feel refreshed and inspired after being there.