I was out of town all last week, on our annual vacation to the northwoods of Wisconsin with my whole family, minus my youngest brother who lives out west and couldn't make it this year. I love that week each year, as it kicks off our summer perfectly. We all spend 11-1/2 months eagerly anticipating it, and then that single week always flies by way too fast. Still, we love it.

When we started doing this annual family vacation in 2005, we rented the lake house of a coworker of mine. The house was big and well-appointed although not fancy, and the lot, beach and lake were all fabulous for the needs of our group. We happily spent our first four vacations there, but eventually my coworker and her husband decided to sell the house as they weren't able to get up there often enough to keep up with the necessary upkeep, so we had to find a new place in 2009.

The house we rented last year was practically brand new and beautiful - but it wasn't right on the lake like the original lake house was, and the beach was shared with other cabins, so we didn't have the privacy we had come to relish either. That meant we all spent less time swimming and boating, and we were all disappointed by that. So, my parents booked a different house for this summer.

This year's house was much closer to town than the other two, and it was big like the original lake house and sat close to the lake like that one, but it still wasn't quite the right fit. Our biggest issues had to do with the water. The water inside, being well water, STUNK to high heaven of sulfur. I'm not exaggerating that one bit either, trust me. Anytime we showered or brushed our teeth, we had to hold our breath or gag through it. And when we did laundry, we quickly learned that the water also had a lot of iron in it, because our whites turned rusty orange. I was NOT thrilled about that, considering I had washed a brand spankin' new white cami and new white t-shirt in that load of whites and they were instantly ruined. Lesson learned! As for the water outside, despite the fact that the lake was just a few yards away from the house and offered GREAT fishing right from the dock, it was NOT good for swimming. The beach was mucky, the bottom of the lake was very silty, and there were weeds everywhere. I suppose we were fortunate that the weather was cold and rainy for more than half the week, and even when the rain stopped it wasn't so hot that we felt compelled to swim much. Thank God for the great fishing, at least -- Super Boy and my Super Nephew (who is the same age as Super Boy) both caught plenty of bluegills and perch right off the dock and were THRILLED by that.

My parents are now struggling with what to do for next summer. We either need to look for another place for next summer or my parents are considering buying a lake place in the southern half of the state, nearer to where they live. While I would really miss the fun activities offered in Minocqua (we LOVE to go go-karting and pony riding while we're there), I think we'd be far more comfortable in a house that my parents own that has the accommodations we value most for our vacations. So, we'll see how it all shakes out for next year.

Regardless of the accommodations, the trip itself is always wonderful. I pretty much only see my sister and her family at the holidays and on this vacation, as we live 5 hours apart, which means our little boys only see each other then, too. That makes us both sad because we were both so excited to find out we were pregnant just 3 months apart, and we looked forward to our boys being close cousins growing up. With the boys in school now and life being busy like it is, it's just hard to make the time to get together more than we do. No excuse, I know - we both ought to try harder - but it is what it is for now.

I see my younger brother more frequently, but the holidays and the vacation are the only times when we're all together, and that's special, too. We spend the evenings playing games as a family. The favorite is Texas hold 'em (my brother taught us all how to play and now we're all hooked!), and we introduced the family to Monopoly City this year, which was a big hit. The boys are now old enough that they can play their own games, or do puzzles together, and they're so cute working together on those things.

Growing up, we never had the money to take vacations as a family, so we really value this time together now. I hope we'll do this always, even after our parents are gone. As I said, it's the perfect way to begin our summer each year!

I had another beginning last week: As I'd half hoped and half feared, my period finally decided to show up, last Tuesday. June 15th: ironically, exactly one month since I started my miscarriage.

I had been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my stupid period for a change, wanting to get it over with so we could move forward, and it stubbornly refused to show for four straight weeks following the miscarriage. I felt kind of crummy Sunday and Monday, but wasn't sure if I just had a touch of a stomach thing or something else, and then Tuesday it showed up and I realized that's what was making me feel lousy.

Nonetheless, I was glad to get it finally. Now I just have to wait until after my next period to start IUI again, which means we should be on track for July, as I'd hoped we would be. Hopefully that will have given my body enough time to heal and prepare for the possibility of another pregnancy.

On that note, I received a beautiful little note from Sister A from our church in today's mail. She has been praying for a baby for us since we began IUI in December, and was so excited when I'd shared the news of the pregnancy with her. After telling her about the miscarriage, she was very consoling and urged me to keep faith that God has a plan for us. Much to my sadness, she's leaving this week to return to her mother house for 2 months before beginning a new position in Kentucky. I will miss her terribly, but I know we will stay in touch. Anyway, her note this morning was two prayers: One for trying to get pregnant, and one for pregnancy. She is so sweet and thoughtful. Just knowing that she's sending up her prayers for us makes me feel like God is really listening, to her if not to me. I pray that the power of all our praying will bring us the miracle we've waited so long for.

That's all for now. I'm just so glad that it's summer. This is my favorite time of year, the season I love best, and I want to really make the most of it this year. Hooray for summer!!

Yours always,


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