Monday, November 28, 2022

Fall Break


My children had two fall breaks this year. Both were four day weekends. The first Fall Break we spent along the North Shore (read about that here). The second Fall Break we took it easy and stayed in Iowa. The minis have wanted to take it easy during their/our free time. I think the long days at school and not home in their pajamas is kicking them a little bit. We still managed to cross off a couple of things off of our bucket lists though.

Sleeping in and lazy mornings are a priority for the minis now. This is also something I approve of; it's like my night owl self is finally being rewarded for all of those early mornings with babies and toddlers. Once we got up and moving, we really drove to West Branch, IA to visit the birthplace of former President Herbert Hoover. At just under two hours from the metro, and a straight shot East on I-80, it was an easy drive. This well kept historical landmark is in the middle of the town's downtown district. I highly recommend taking a stroll not only through the historical park, but the town itself. We also hiked a short prairie trail just for the extra leg stretch.

Not many National Parks are dog friendly, so we always try to look for the Monuments and Historical Parks that are. Zeus enjoyed getting his first BARK Ranger badge (he for sure would have more, but he's a pandemic pup and this program wasn't up and running much during the pandemic), walking along the trails, and whining when one of us went into the buildings.

Visiting the gravesites of President Hoover and his wife.

Two of the minis explored the Presidential Library (onsite) while the other mini, Zeus, and I walked around the downtown area.

Before we hit the interstate on our way home, I decided we needed to get another hike in. Checking AllTrails, I discovered this "cool looking" trail. When we arrived, we realized it was actually a dirt bike course. We weren't completely sure we were supposed to be on it, but it was void of dirt bikes at the time, so I convinced the minis and Hubs to break the rules and run the course with me. It was a muddy blast! Sometimes it's those unexpected stops that turn into the best adventures filled with giggles.

One day adventuring followed by a day of rest on Sunday. Sundays are for walks around the neighborhood, playing with friends, football, and homemade foods. And naps and laundry. Always plenty of both of those.

Our next adventure took us to NE Iowa and the towns of Strawberry Point, McGregor, and Marquette. We stopped at the giant strawberry and the cutest coffee shop in Strawberry Point (although, I got a decent pumpkin pie flavored coffee from Casey's on our way out of town). From there we went to our favorite hiking spot in Iowa: Effigy Mounds National Monument. The views overlooking the Mighty Mississippi are stellar, the spiritual and historical value of the land is priceless, and there are miles of trails to explore.

We've been hiking Effigy Mounds since the youngest could walk. One of my bucket list hikes in this area was the Marching Bear Trail. It's not a long trail, four miles if you just do the Marching Bear Trail and not the little sub-trails off of it. However, it's straight up a cliff, or a river bluff. It's quite a climb and the kid's little legs have been too little to complete the climb. I knew going into it that this would finally be our year to do this hike. It was well worth the wait too!

We paired the Marching Bear Trail with the Yellow River Bridge Trail, which gave us around 6 miles for the day.

We have to get creative when we travel with the dog. We often do take out car dinners since very few places are dog friendly. This taco pizza from Casey's tasted amazing after a long hike.

The rest of break was spent at hair appointments, dental and doctors office visits, and running errands. I took the minis to vote with me in the midterms and made time to treat myself to coffees, and time with friends. We love to travel and be on the go, but this little break was nice. I'm finally getting to a place where I and my family don't feel overrun by life.