July 8, 2012: Okoboji



We just walked in the door from vacationing at Lake Okoboji.  Besides the peaceful feeling that goes hand in hand with the end of an awesome family trip; the churn of my washing machine and the welcomed amenities of home complete a great vacation.  I have been reflecting a bit after hearing my boys share their stories  with smiles and laughs from their time in our cabin and at the beach.  Okoboji was my own stomping ground as a kid.  Having my boys enjoy this trip as much as I did at their age makes it even grander.

Although we were only able to sneak in four days this year, every moment was a bit of a flashback in time for me.  My parents took my brothers and I to the same resort as kids and this was also the same one we stayed at when Grant was a toddler.  I remember my trips to the Emporium and Arnold's Park with the same fondness as Zach remembering his excitement in reaching the minimum height requirement to ride on the historic wood roller coaster.

The boys have spent time each summer living the Okoboji lake life.  We have spent these times with cousins, old friends, and new friends.  As with most resort beach vacations, many families re-book the same week year after year.  We had followed this formula for years and watched the families of our Okoboji friends and beach neighbors grow as we reacquainted ourselves each year.

Our resort of choice and vacation week has changed up as our family has changed and the boys have grown older with more responsibilities.  But the great thing about traditions is that a new one can be made at any time.  This year was our second year of vacationing at Fillenwarth Beach with my friend, Angelique, and her three kids.  Just to keep us on our toes, we allowed our kids to bring friends which resulted in one large cabin filled with two adults, eight teenagers, and two tweens (12 yr olds).  And, yes, Angelique and I both survived while still having fun.

During one of the many boat rides provided courtesy of our friends at Fillenwarth, we went by a beach that I stayed at as a child.  I was quickly reminded of being a 12 year old myself.  My carefree days on the beach included enjoying the planned kids' activities.  My brothers and I would participate in the sand castle building  contests, watermelon feeds, and teen dances.  I gained many friends in a way that would be non-conventional in the standard's of today's youth; I actually introduced myself.  I remember going back to our cabin after one active summer beach day, exuberantly telling my mom, "I met twenty-eight new friends today!"  I went on to name all of their names in the order of my meeting them.  My new vacation sidekick, Karen, and I decided to "seize the day" a bit on that particular sunny summer day and took part in every activity offered and subsequently met every kid who showed interest in our conversations.  A success in my twelve year old mind, but what to do with this new corral of friends?  In the 1970's there was no FaceBook, Instagram or Twitter.  I left with a new pen pal with Karen, but the names of the other twenty-eight left my memory within a week.

There is no doubt our teenage crew of ten have added many tweets, pictures, and cyberspace friends from their time on the beach.  Angelique and I made our owns friends as well and yes, we are all now "friended" on FaceBook too.  This will help tremendously as our tradition continues into next year.  We are all now well connected past pen pals of years past.  Although the kids wouldn't have a clue what a pen pal is, they certainly can accept a follower on Twitter with ease.  And our memorializing our times in cyberspace creates connections and a time stamp for our beach memories.  Our "second annual" makes our new tradition official in a way.  I look forward to seeing how it plays out on my future FB timeline...good times ahead, no doubt.

Instagram picture I posted of the boys at play

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