Seneca, WI = population 893
There are so many things that I appreciate and value about where I grew up, but it all comes down to the family that I was fortunate enough to be born into. My cousins were like my siblings and since we all lived within 5 minutes of each other we were best of friends. We made so many memories growing up and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.
While Madison is full of endless opportunities for Ella, small town life allowed me to do things that Ella will never understand or experience in the big city. A large part of that is that she isn't 5 minutes away from the rest of her family. I wish we lived closer to everyone, but we're 2 hours from Seneca, 4.5 from Clayton (where Joe grew up) and 2 + from La Crosse, where her only cousins live. Joe & I are continuously trying to find a balance between providing her with as many opportunities possible but also offering a taste of how we grew up.
That's why this week is not only an exciting time for Ella, but for me too. With our next addition set to arrive any day, my brother and sister-in-law were nice enough to offer to take Ella for the week. They have three little girls of their own already so I was hesitant to ship her off - I wanted to make sure they knew what they were getting themselves into. After they assured me that they wanted the extra addition, we drove to meet them this past Sunday. With the car packed with her swimming suit, bicycle and endless dress up clothes - Ella's excitement could not be described. She was pumped and I was grateful that she would get the chance to build memories with her family like I did.
We decided to meet midway at a park, which was nice because then we were able to see everyone for a bit. The girls all played on the playground and when it was time to pack up Ella ran to their van and was settled in without even considering giving us a hug and kiss goodbye.
When Joe and I got back home it was eerily quiet and at one point I found him laying in Ella's bed. Typically we go to bed super late, but at 9:20 p.m. he decided he could no longer handle the boredom and was off to bed. Turns out Ella might be the only excitement in our lives!
So it's been almost 4 days together and after just checking in, I'm happy to report - they're all still alive! I can barely believe it. I knew this before but, my sister-in-law Heidi has the patience of a saint and has yet to ditch them all for a bottle of tequila and a trip Mexico. Not only are they alive-but they have had a week full of activities; swimming, red light/green light, duck duck goose, barbies, runway/dance party, walk, ice cream, feeding the ducks, baths...the list goes on and on.
She is having the time of her life and I feel extremely appreciative. Appreciative to have some adult only time before the baby arrives but more importantly, appreciative that Ella can strengthen her relationships with my brother and his family. Hopefully the experience will be just as positive for them!