Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Every year growing up, my parents loaded all four of us girls into the Dust Bucket (ie: the family station wagon) and made the drive to Okoboji. My dad's parents owned a small house there so every summer we went and stayed for a few days. Every summer we posed - from youngest to oldest, naturally - on the front steps and indulged my mom her yearly picture. Basically every year is a slightly different version of embarrassing.

summer of 1995
Side note: Yes, we are all girls. 
Felicia just preferred a boy's haircut while wearing a t-shirt featuring Pocahontas and John Smith. Thanks Disney. 
Meanwhile I am rocking a one-piece number with a built in belt and skirt. 

We spent our days swimming, fishing, playing in our usual parks, mini-golfing, and eating Godfather's Pizza and DQ ice cream. At night we hauled the extra mattresses out of the closet and arranged them in the over-sized living room. All four of us slept on them together, after about an hour's worth of jumping back and forth.

We went every year, all the way up through high school. 
One year we wanted to take friends. My mom was not signing on for a "vacation" with at least four extra kids. My dad was just crazy enough to agree. 
And that is how our dad ended up spending a night by himself with nine girls.

What I remember most from the trip was that we made him drive us around while we listened to the Backstreet Boys. And he learned some words and sang along. 
My dad's always been cool like that.

Fast forward a good decade or more.
My grandparents still own the same small one-bedroom house, although minus that green carpet. 
And now I am the one with small children. And I would love for them to experience and enjoy the same wonderful things I did when I visited Okoboji as a kid. 

Yesterday we decided to make a little of that happen. 
We loaded our kids in our packed Honda Pilot (can't wait to see what our kids name it someday) and hit the same road my parents used to.

We picnicked at the same park we used to play at when I was a kid.
We swam and played in the sand at the same beach that we used to when I was a kid.
We drove around and noted what had changed - and what had stayed the same - since I was a kid.

The result was a day of smiles and laughs. 
Lots of cookie bars and lemonade.
Plenty of sun and definitely a lot of sand.

Our three came home exhausted, already asking when they can go back again. 


  1. Love the flashback photo!!!! And so great that that house is still there and that you re-lived a bit of your childhood memories. I want to do that with our kids too. Cute that you can't wait to hear what your kids name your Pilot :).

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lisa! I think one of the best things about parenthood is seeing your kids experience the same fun stuff you remember doing. If our kids are nearly as ornery as we were, our vehicles will definitely have some unflattering names. ha

  2. Oh Vanessa, I LOVE that first photo lol! Don't worry; I have PLENTY of that in my albums. I vow to try and not dress my kids the same, but who knows—they might look back and wonder at what in the world we dressed them in.

    How awesome you guys still get to go to the house. What an amazing memory to pass down to your kids :)

    1. Thanks for appreciating a good photo from the 90's! If only you could get a good close-up view of those sexy glasses I was wearing that took up half of my face. lol But then again, we all probably looked the same. I am sure my kids will be harassing me in 20 years and asking why on earth I thought the clothes I dressed them in were socially acceptable.

  3. Awwww -- this is the BEST!!
    I love revisiting old memories and in your case, almost re-living them.

    First of all, you dad is a freakin' SAINT!! haha No doubt those are treasured memories for him as well though.
    Secondly, flashback photos are my secret love -- they make me laugh every time. haha

    The 80's and the 90's? Idk what ppl were thinking haha

    So glad you guys had fun and are still able to indulge in this. No doubt your kids will have the same fab memories. But uh, where is your embarrassed trio all together looking awkward?? hahaha

    1. My dad IS a saint when it comes to hanging out with all girls. I asked him once if he would have tried for a boy a 5th time and he said (and I quote), "You're damn right! I wanted another! I would have liked five girls." The poor guy just assumed it would be a girl. :) Of course my mom rolled her eyes and walked away at this convo - no way was she ever on board for a #5. ha

      I am hoping that we can take our kids and have the same experiences. The house definitely needs some work now, but I would love love LOVE to be able to take our kids every summer for the next 20 years. :)
      And to be honest, I didn't even think to attempt the front steps photo. They were so anxious to go to the picnic/park/beach that there is no way they would have cooperated! Maybe next year.


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