Summer days in Wisconsin
here's our house; we think it's so cute! I'm really looking forward to a fresh coat of paint at some point next year / University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus and Rod and Gun Park
Yesterday we woke to rain. Glorious rain. When we checked the rain gauge on our deck in the afternoon it read nearly 1.5 inches which is a bit shy of a quarter of our annual rainfall in Arizona. I've become relatively acclimated to the very extreme climate in Arizona and so now marvel at the most mundane weather.
We still have two weeks left in Wisconsin and at our house here. We've come to love the house already and I'll miss it when we leave. I'm charmed to own an older home (built in 1949, much older than our 2002 house in Gilbert) and getting to know it. It's also possible that I'll get to chat with one of the original owners of the home who is still living in Eau Claire! She and her husband built the home and lived in it until 2019. The husband was an electrician and his meticulous and inventive nature is evident throughout the home. Like the little arched cat doors with attached brushes on two interior doors, the thermometer in the kitchen that's wired to tell the temperature outside, and the kitchen clock that is hardwired to the home's electricity. The home is in such good condition overall and we feel so fortunate that the fates aligned that we ended up with the home we did. I hope to collect my thoughts on the house and some of our ideas for it in a future post.
We've been doing a great job doing and seeing so many of the things we hoped we would during our stay. We won't get to all of them but Chris and I agreed that we'd prefer that to feeling like we've already seen everything. So far we've loved neighborhood walks and getting to know our neighbors, going to city events around downtown, exploring the beautiful parks and taking in all the green and water, trying out restaurants near and far, and driving around looking at different neighborhoods.
The kids have done great overall. I know the boys miss their friends but they haven't been mopey about missing things in Gilbert. They've really enjoyed getting to be outside and explore parks and especially sampling local ice cream. The boys get on each other's nerves a few times a day but that's just being brothers. Maeve has done so great too, although I do get the sense that she misses having time with friends her own age. When we see any kids, especially little girls, at the parks she makes a beeline for them saying, "Friends!" Gosh it's so sweet and kind of heartbreaking! Oh, also all the kids have been sleeping SO WELL. They go to bed a bit later because of the time change but also because it stays lighter longer. But they actually sleep later too! That does not happen at home! Chris says he's sleeping incredibly as well. It seems I'm the only one sleeping a bit restless. I think it's because I couldn't bring my favorite pillow but I broke down and ordered one and am very excited to sleep with it tonight.
What hasn't been abundant has been work and recharge time for me and much time to just enjoy Chris's company. We get about an hour in the morning (which is wonderful and feels like more than we get at home) and then the kids are up and the day is going! But, amazingly, we connected with a wonderful babysitter who lives across the street! We hired her twice this week to come over mid-day so that Chris and I could get out for two day dates. How glorious to enjoy uninterrupted conversations, to drive leisurely without backseat complaining, and to not have our attention split so many ways.
Today was, I think, my favorite day in Eau Claire so far. The weather was breezy and a perfect 78 degrees. We started the day exploring the gorgeous Rod and Gun Park on Half Moon Lake. Then Chris and I had a four-hour day date during which we ate delicious salads and played Qwixx, then explored the garden center next door to the cafe (marveling at all the green and flowers). Next we visited the Chippewa Valley Museum and learned so much about the history of the area. The museum was incredible and sadly we had to speed through the end to make it home for the babysitter. I look forward to going back. At home we packed the kids up and drove to Pinehurst park to show the boys the two huge grassy hills that turn into skiing, sledding, and tubing hills during the winter. The boys and Chris trekked to the top to see the view while Maeve and I explored the great play structure. Then we picked up pizza from Covizza, a pop-up pizza restaurant Chris heard about from a barista! The restaurant is tucked into the sprawling Banbury Place and making my way through the quiet industrial building I felt like I was on a pizza treasure hunt. It all felt very secretive and fun. The pizza was beautiful, creative, and hands-down delicious. Dash said, "Can I use a bad word? Because this pizza is freaking awesome!" After dinner we took a family walk, then had lots of silly tickling and wrestling time before getting everyone into showers or a bath and to bed.
I'm wrapping this up in the breezy golden evening light on our back deck and listening to the distant sounds of a nearby college marching band practice. Tomorrow we head to Madison for a few days and we'll be meeting up with Chris's sister and her family. I'm really looking forward to having a bigger family group all together and exploring Madison, especially the amazing Saturday farmers market, and soaking up more of Wisconsin's beautiful summer.