13 July 2011

Two Weeks in Review

On June 30 we arrived in Chicago, and today is July 13. What have we done in the last 2 weeks?

 Well, we started by visiting family in Oconomowoc, WI. We wasted no time in preparing a massive feast for the 4th of July. 

 And so we ate.

 Marinated grilled tofu, beet/walnut/yogurt salad, roasted potatoes, kale, Greek salad, and rutabaga. So much deliciousness on one plate! Thank you Kristin and Alisa for preparing such amazing vegan and vegetarian food. 

 Kristin and I took Lilly to the 4th of July parade. This is like an abridged version of the State Fair. Lots of tractors, real 'merican trucks, ATVs, and even a pimped-out golf cart. The rocking patriotic soundtrack was provided by the likes of John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen and numerous country-ish artists that I don't know. Let me just tell you that the first lyrics I heard were "She thinks my tractor is sexy." 

 Big Girls, Cowboy Boots, Ford Trucks and American Flags. Welcome to the Midwest.

 Then we went home to eat more. Shocking, I know. 

 We left Oconomowoc before our guts could explode. We traveled to Pulaski, where we worked on feeding instead of eating. 

 One-half of the twin set.

 We took a trip to the coast of Lake Michigan to Door County. This is where Kristin and Alisa spent a week of camping, cycling, swimming and playing every summer. Upon revisiting their childhood vacation spot, they realized things were so much smaller and closer together than they remembered. We were able to see everything in a day, that used to take them a week.

 Oh, and we ate there too. I had French Toast filled with cherry cream cheese and topped with more cherries. This was one of the treats they remembered, but neither of them would eat it now as they realize how horribly unhealthy it is. 

 We drove through Green Bay. Most importantly, we drove by Lambeau Stadium. This is supposed to be something like a religious rite of passage for Wisconsinites. 

 The relatives were just as happy to hear that we stopped by the thrift store next to Lambeau Stadium. Alisa bought a crock pot and I found a pair of shorts. Yay.

 A full house.

 Kristin, Alisa and I coordinated our outfit for this family picture. 

 Yes, our trip continues. We drove to the family farm near Phillips (still Wisconsin). We celebrated two weddings and two birthdays and even Christmas. Of course we ate a ton too.

 Several of us competed (completed) a sprint triathlon. Kristin and Dee came in 2nd in their respective age groups. 

 Yep, more cake. Don't ask me how many different types of cakes I have eaten in the last week. This one was a vegan coconut mixed-berry cake that Kristin baked for Alisa's birthday.

 Kristin and I also pretended to be farmers. It briefly reminded us of our weeks spent on a Russian dacha. After I returned to the farm house, I got a call from my Chris and Hillary to let us know that they had a 8+ pound baby boy named Owen. If you've been following, Hillary was almost 7 months pregnant when they visited us in Switzerland in April.

 Finally, on July 10 we returned to Krisitn's parents' home in Minnesota. We had stored a few things there while we traveled, so it was fun to find "new" clothes to wear! 

 Kristin's dad took us golfing. They are both quite good at it. And very generous - they never let me score more than a seven. I found more golf balls than I lost, so I think they might take me golfing again.

It is wonderful to be back in the US, though we are still in travel mode. We haven't stayed in the same place for more than three nights. We still live out of our backpack. We don't have a home, a cell phone, or a job.We have plans to continue traveling within the US and Canada for the next month.

It has also felt like a celebration every day with our extending family. However, two months  of a fatty, sugary, dairy-intensive diet has taken its toll on me - I gained about 10 pounds since Norway. Everybody wants to feed us treats and desserts and indulgences.

Kristin isn't tempted by that stuff, but I have some mental issue where I feel like I have to get calories when I can. Especially when they're free. I think it has something to do with growing up poor with four brothers (all bigger than me). I had to eat when I could.

This is a bad habit and something I have struggled with for the last ten years (when I realized it was a personal issue). Anyways, I have no doubts the weight will disappear when I return to eating less cake and dairy.

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