Last weekend, the four of us joined our friends, Nate, Kate, Harper, and Will to their family's condo on Lake Okoboji. Nate and Kate moved to Pella a little over a year ago and a weekend away to reconnect by the water sounded like the perfect getaway for us. It would be Mila's first overnight adventure away from home and what would end up being many firsts for our two littles. From Cruz's first slumber party to his first roller coaster ride, and Mila's first life jacket to her first boat ride on the lake, it was a wonderful weekend of new experiences and long lasting friendships with a family we love.
We arrived Friday afternoon and made a detour through Beau's old stomping grounds in Spencer before beginning our weekend away at West O Brewery, owned and operated by a friend of Beau's family. We sampled a couple home brews, threw an awful lot of peanut shells on the floor, and Beau told stories of his Spencer days. Soon, we met Nate and Kate at their condo, smiled as Cruz and Harper gave each other big hugs, and wasted no time before hopping on the boat and cruising the lake. We ended the night with pizza, a slumber party for Cruz and Harper, and a late night of Pitch, Hendricks and tonics, and lots of laughs while the babies slept.
A rainy Saturday may have altered our plans for a day of boating and beaching, however, we made our fun and enjoyed a day of relaxing and reconnecting. We ate pancakes at O'Farrell Sister's, built blanket forts and watched movies, got our swimsuits wet at an indoor water park perfectly suited for our littles, passed around babies, opened juice boxes, and devoured sandwiches at a waterside picnic, and ended the night with promised s'mores around the dining room table, all thanks to a borrowed creme brulee torch from Kate's sister. Cruz and Harper begged for another slumber party and we agreed, reading books about "An Okoboji Day," complete with boat rides, Arnold's Park afternoons, and Cruz's most anticipated wish, a sandcastle on the beach. We kissed foreheads, said prayers, and turned out the light, only to return minutes later with our ears to the door, listening to their little whispers and sweet conversation. It was the sweetest thing both nights - their two crib mattresses pushed side by side, excited chatter and requests for water, and soon, two friends fast asleep until the morning.
Sunday started with Spudnut's Donuts, an adventure walk, and finally, sunshine. And when Cruz innocently asked if we could have 'an Okoboji day', we wasted no time in making the most of our Sunday. We built a sandcastle complete with a moat and a bridge, watched the kids jump off the dock into the lake over and over again, hopped on the boat for another cruise, and ended the day with rides at Arnold's Park and tacos at Taco House. Mila was a little angel all weekend long, making herself at home at their beautiful condo and smiling from ear to ear in her swim cap as Beau took her down water slides and ran her through sprinklers at the water park. She slept like a dream both nights in her pack and play, ate her toes in her stroller as the big kids rode rides at Arnold's Park, and flashed us a squishy faced smile in her life jacket on our boat ride.
We had a wonderful weekend in a place that is the very definition of summertime Americana. I loved every bit of it - the carnival on the lake, the big green space perfect for summertime picnics and live bands, and even the rain, creating the perfect backdrop for improvising and surprising ourselves with the joy hidden in unexpected places. Like the eight of us piled in the living room drinking coffee and watching movies, passing babies around at indoor water parks, and conversations about everything under the sun lasting well into the night. We grew much closer to this sweet family and look forward to many adventures ahead.
Nate and Kate, thanks for sharing a piece of your summer with us. We loved sharing a roof with you and will practice our game of Pitch for next time. :)