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Our second day in Steven’s Point we went biking. First we headed into town to have breakfast and check out the farmer’s market. Then through a nature preserve where we saw a deer and climbed in the tree house. After church we took the kids to the beach to cool off. It was another perfect day – except that I’m a little saddle sore:)

hiking at rib mountain

This weekend we went hiking at Rib Mountain State Park near Steven’s Point. We were hanging with our friends Todd, Sara, Maggie, and Aubrey. It was a perfect day of fun with the kids and the challenge of Mountain Climbing!

Okay, it’s not technically a mountain — it is almost 4 miles long and peaks at 1,924 feet above sea level and 760 feet above the local terrain, the highest difference of height from peak to surrounding terrain in the state of  Wisconsin.

Local legend states that the ‘ribs’ in Rib Mountain come from the legend that it is the burial site of Paul Bunyan. Furthermore, nearby Mosinee Hill is said to be the grave of Babe the Blue Ox.

Even if it was not a mountain – it was a challenging 1.38 mile hike — Really is that all it was? Wow – I really thought is was longer than that!

This is another one of the entries that Truman showed at the fair. Grace and Anna Mae made a stepping stone too. We have supplies for Cole when he gets back – don’t worry.

The stepping-stones were made with a kit. We found everything we needed at Hobby Lobby.

I put Tim in charge of this one – I thought the kids could use some Dad time doing something other than sports. It was a hit and will be great in the yard. I love that I have a plan for all the projects this year…

the crafty rainbow

We have been feeling crafty this week…


Getting ready for the county fair will do that to you.

We did this when it was really warm outside… I think that made it even more “melty.”

Blue ribbon #1 – for Truman and cool art work to hang in the basement for me – Yea!

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The past two days were less about me seeing everything and more about Cole getting acclimated to life here. We gave the boys time to play and Cole and I had some time to ourselves to shop and wonder around the village. We found some things to bring back for Anna Mae, Truman, and Grace so they would know that Cole is thinking about them while he plays with the toys we originally bought and now Cole and Michael want to keep here.

It is 5am- I am up- not to sit on the balcony and read today, but to begin coming home. It is very hard to leave Cole here. We talked about it last night. I told him the story about the first time I left him to go to a movie with Tim. I made it to the credits, grabbed Tim’s hand and demanded he return me to my baby. That mother thing is pretty powerful stuff.

So when he said, ” I will really miss you mom.” I thought he should know that honestly I will really miss him. Not just because I enjoy his company. Not just because he makes me smile. Not just because he reminds me of his dad. But also because that mother thing is pretty powerful stuff.

On the other hand I am overwhelmed by the people here. The family wants him to be here. They know I am scared.

They have planned so many things and Cole is really excited about it all. So hopefully the ride to the airport will be the hard part and then he will focus again on the adventure.

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Today we were off to Gdansk, Sopa, and Gdynia for site seeing.

I took lots of great photos of old buildings to show to my students. They are on my good camera and will have to wait for me to be back in the states to upload.

For now I have a photo of Joanna on the phone talking to potential customers who do not know she is playing hooky from work and hanging out with Cole and I. Michael encouraged us to eat at an American burger restaurant. I had to tease him about that… We have been to McDonalds twice so it has made no difference if I tease… I did get real Polish food later, so it’s okay.

Gdansk is a very old city with quaint buildings. We wandered the walking tour of fountains and cobble stone streets admiring the architecture. There were many shops and street vendors. Cole found gifts for his sibling– cross bows and a bow and arrow from a renaissance toy kiosk. They may have to stay until the end of July as the children had them out, “just to try” at Brunon’s and had lots of fun.

Sopa is a contrast to Gdansk. It is very white. Very cosmopolitan. Very polished. The pier was like a pomade out to sea with many people walking and enjoying the restaurant. The area around the pier had many shops and again very inviting restaurants. We bought the boys a bag of candy each as I think they we’re about done with my interest in sightseeing by then.

Gadynia is a modern city. It is neither quaint and old like Gdansk, nor polished and sophisticated like Sopa. We took a driving tour and admired the boats, the boys wanted to head to the farm.

They were happy when they could just play and explore. I enjoyed soup from Stefania’s kitchen, Brunon was pleased that he was the best with the bow and arrow… so we were all happy.

Two days left for me and I am feeling at peace with Cole staying. He is very comfortable and everyone is so kind to him. I am ready to have a glass of wine, watch the people on holiday pass by the hotel and try the dessert that Stefania sent along… It’s been a good day…

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Yesterday afternoon we went for a drive down the peninsula. We can now officially say we have been to Hel and back as it is the tip of the peninsula that is called Hel. Along the way we saw small villages, mostly fishing and tourism. It is high season and the tourists are everywhere. Kiosks trail the roads full of trinkets and souvenirs for people on holiday.

Bikes, cars, and people make the roads crowded and I worried for awhile about Tomasz, our host, driving us around. I am an accomplished anti-backseat driver so I decided to continue my philosophy and not think too much about it. It turned out we were more than fine and had a great time exploring.

My favorite place was Jastarnia where I saw the Konkel house and the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church; a boat hangs from the wall and Cole found ice cream outside.

Cole especially liked the open air military museum where we saw a number of bombs and weapons used to protect the peninsula during World War II.

Today we road our bikes to Puck on the bay side where we met Brunon, Grandpa Konkel of the same generation as my parents. There is an entire book written about how we are all related and if you are terribly interested I can put you in touch with the editor, my dad, who loves to tell the story.

For now I want to share how much we enjoyed Brunon’s home. I can hardly believe that dad did not prepare us for all the fun. We simply knew that he had hens. Now we can add ducks, rabbits, carrots, apples, berries, and a mini-farm waiting to be explored. Cole looks forward to going back. I found a rose garden, a cup of tea, and strawberry dessert – Brunon’s wife Stefania knew exactly how to make me feel spoiled!

We spent the late afternoon at the beach. On the north side of Władysławowie just across the street from Baltos the beach is beautiful, clean, and full of tourists. It was a fun place to do some people watching and let the boys play in the sand.

Tonight we are a little saddle sore and very tired. We are planning more site seeing tomorrow.

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