I’m Not Sure My Kids and I Would Survive

On Friday, I decided a “fun” outing was in order as the beginning of school is only a week away. I decided upon Heritage Hill which is a living museum situated just down the road from us in Green Bay, WI. It is 50 acres of land that contains several buildings and houses from the 1800’s. Most of them are original buildings that have just been moved to this spot and restored.

As extra bonuses, it was a “free” week for kids and I roped my mom into coming along to help me keep the kids from breaking any valuable antiques and from losing anyone (eh….I mean just to come along for fun)!!

I thought this would be a great opportunity to give the kids some Wisconsin history lessons and make them appreciate the luxuries of the 21st century!

We started out in the Belgium farmhouse and explained to them about the lack of electricity, the fact you had to pump your own water and then boil it for your bath, bring in your firewood to heat the house and about the lack of bathrooms.

The Belgium House

Grandma, Bency and Iris walking around the farmhouse

Sheep outside the farm house

The stove in the farm house

Cesar wearing his puppy ears in his umbrella stroller in the farm house

A cupboard in the farm house

Cesar in the farm house being happy as can be

Iris pretending to churn butter. Iris has a blue dress under this green princess dress. She was playing dress up before we left and asked if she could just leave it on!

We left the farm house and I felt good about the attentiveness of the children, the quality of their questions proving they were indeed listening and the fact no one had touched or managed to break any of the irreplaceable 1800’s heirlooms!

Our next stop was the olden day cheese factory. This one we were not allowed to walk inside only peer through the open door into the replicated set up of the building. My mom was busy explaining to the kids the process of making cheese when I noticed my five year old; Bency, had wandered off and was busy examining a water drainage pipe. Really awesome!!!

The old cheese factory

The next few stops on the tour proved to lose Bency more as he asked to wait outside while we poked around the hospital and officers’ quarters. He clearly did not care the soldiers and the people who needed medical care in the 1800’s were made to lay on cots with mattresses made of hay or the fact that the pharmacist’s office stocked chocolate to help with constipation!

One of the buildings Bency didn’t want to linger in

We set off and walked farther down the path on our way to the fur traders section. Bency stopped to check out a drainage grate in the middle of the road and was mesmerized by it! Really awesome!!

Bency mesmerized with the drainage grate

The kids enjoyed the fur trader’s station because a man there in period clothing had them guess what each of the pelts was. Of course, Bency guesses zebra for the muskrat because he had no idea what it was and he uses any chance he can get to the say the word “zebra” because he loves them!

By this time the kids were getting hungry, thirsty and their legs were tired! We were clear across the other side of the park!! Really awesome!!

We continued walking with me making promises of a nice lunch and drinks when we got home. I let my almost 2 year old, Cesar, out of his stroller and gave the older kids turns in the umbrella stroller. Grandma didn’t whine but I’m sure if I could have fit her in the umbrella stroller she wouldn’t have minded a lift either. This park is built on a huge hill!

Our last stop was at the church. This is actually where my husband Alex and I were married in 2004. It is a great memory and whenever we have come here I’ve taken pictures of the kids in front of the church. Today Bency and Cesar weren’t so cooperative…actually not cooperative all!!

The kids in front of the church where my husband and I got married!

Now Cesar is mesmerized with a different drainage grate….we clearly need to go on a tour of drainage grates for our next outing!

We finally made it back to the van. Bency made a request, “Mom, please don’t ever bring me here again.” REALLY AWESOME!!!

As much as I love the pioneer days and sometimes romance the idea of being catapulted back and living a simpler life; I sure was happy to have that van to get us home so quick so I could whip out that bread and peanut butter I bought at the store and make my kids a nice lunch and put them on their soft comfortable mattresses for a nice nap!

One of the vegetable gardens in the park

Beautiful rose hips on the rose bushes all over the park

Iris and Bency standing in the place where the first court house in Green Bay once stood

Standing on a wooden bridge looking into the creek

Bency is obsessed with the crucifixion lately and is positive that this is the location and cross that Jesus was crucified on

She Saw the Ghost of the Virgin Mary

This past Saturday we visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. With my mother-in-law in town for a visit this has become our new tradition when she is here.

Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help

It is a Catholic chapel set in the middle of cornfields in the heart of rural Wisconsin in a town named Champion. In 2010, it became recognized as the first Marian apparition sighting in the United States.

Outside the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help…notice the cornfields in back

The apparition sightings actually occurred in 1859 by a 28 year Belgium immigrant woman named Adele Brise. On her third sighting of Mary, Adele actually heard her talking to her saying,” I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same.” Adele Brise was also given a mission to “gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation.”

Adele’s father built a chapel over the sight of where the apparition appeared and Adele dedicated the rest of her life to teaching children by building a school on the same grounds.

On October 8, 1871 the worst recorded fire in history occurred. ..The Peshtigo Fire. This fire threatened the chapel but Adele Brise refused to leave and instead begged the Virgin Mary for her protection. This fire ended up destroying 1,200,000 acres of land and caused the death of nearly 2,500 people but the chapel and the people in it were unharmed. It did reach the Chapel grounds but only singed the fence that surrounded it.

People have been traveling to this chapel and its surrounding grounds for over 100 years in the form of pilgrimages and in search of miracles. Many people have claimed to be cured here… leaving crutches, hearing aids and years of blindness behind.

I do not know if these things occurred. I was not there when these things happened.

I was there on Saturday. It was a beautiful day with stillness in the air and warm sunshine. My kids enjoyed seeing the water lilies and frogs resting on the lily pads in the pond. My kids went in the chapel and prayed with their Grandma. Iris, my 7 year old, asked God to make her brave. Bency, my 5 year old asked God for a new race track. We went to the apparition sight and Grandma lit a candle. We walked around the gorgeous grounds out back filled with statues and other artifacts. Iris thought the eyes blinked on one of the statues of Mary. I think it was her imagination. To my knowledge no “miracles” occurred this day. It was just a peaceful day full of serenity, joy and my kids learning about God from their Grandma and us all enjoying the day as a family.

Frog and Lily Pad in the pond

Grandma at the apparition sight

Adele Brise’s grave site

The statue of Mary that Iris thought blinked!

Our littlest one, Cesar, enjoying all the open area to run!