These are some of the people we grew to love during in our early years of marriage, living in Milwaukee. How fortunate we were to cross paths with them and how fortunate we were to spend a week reconnecting. We have twice (if not more) as many children as when we all lived by each other but kids know no limits, and everyone known or unknown is a friend.

Here are a couple favorites from the kids.

Hallie: if there was a boat going out (which there always seemed to be a boat taking kids out) she was ready to go. She stepped out of her comfort zone on so many levels. She couldn’t get enough of the tube. What is it with kids loving being whipped around and knocked off tubes?! She took some serious crashes and kept getting back on. She wanted to learn how to wake surf – not something she’s done before. But she went out there and tried over and over again until she could get up consistently (not without periods of frustration of course!). I was impressed because she was surrounded by kids much more comfortable and experienced on the water, and yet it didn’t stop her from trying time and time again. I kept getting reports from the boat drivers of how well she was doing. A group was body surfing so she tried that as well. She was fearless.

Hunter: Not quite as adventurous but had just as much fun. His frustration lies just below the surface so when he couldn’t get up on the wakeboard on the second try he wanted to throw in the towel. I made him try a couple more times and then his effort level was next to zero so he was done. He didn’t want to jump off the rocks into the water with all his buddies. Didn’t want to try wake surfing. He did love the tube, but more than anything, he loved the paddle boards. He didn’t need to be out on the boat, he just wanted a board and a paddle and owned the coved travel from one side to the other. He also became king of the island and didn’t want to chance losing his reign!

Bennett: I’m not sure what he did the whole time but he was happy and tired at the end of every day. He too loved his turn on the tube but he was also content to comb the beach looking for treasures and playing games with his friends.

Cannon: We finally got him on the tube screaming and we took him off screaming as well because he realized just how fun it was. He stayed on the beach or on the house boat the majority of the time and he was happy filling and emptying the same bucket day in and day out. He had a little partner in crime and they were nearly inseparable – and at times they drove each other crazy. I would expect nothing less from three-year-olds!

Steve and I took turns out on the boats and at the houseboat watching kids. Several afternoons all the moms went out and took turns wake surfing. My last incident with wake surfing involved a fluke accident and stitches. I’m happy to report there were no injuries and I never took a fall. I got on and off the board without getting my hair wet! You couldn’t pay me to get on a wakeboard (the falls are just not worth it!) but I think wake surfing was fun – a good reminder that I should work out my leg muscles just a little bit more! Steve seems to master all water sports he sets out and tries – he even impressed everyone with his backflip cliff jumping stunt.

Just looking at these pictures again makes me want to go back. I’m ready to slather on sunscreen 5 times a day and constantly police my kids to make sure they’re in their life jackets. I’m ready to cram onto a tiny houseboat with some amazing people and try to cook meals in the tiny galley kitchen. There was really nothing “ideal” about the trip but it was a week of friends and fun and memories and I would do it again tomorrow. There’s talk of making this an annual adventure – fingers crossed we can make that happen!