Tip-up-Town is always a sort of surreal experience for me. But this year, I need a new word to describe this ice-fishing/snowmobiling festival in Northern Michigan. First, I don't ice-fish or ride a snowmobile. So when we drive up to "go to" the festival, it really means to just be in town, and maybe visit the carnival. My favorite part last year was a big garage sale over at the youth center.
I was pretty excited to bring E this year, thinking that we would have some fun watching her play some games or run around in the snow. It was about 20 degrees, so we layered the heck out of her, and stuffed Baby M into a heavy snow suit, and headed down to the lake with cousins and grandma. Walking with E is slow, and her snow boots slow her down even more...so I tried to carry her just to the gate, but she would have none of that. She wanted to walk, trip, slide, and crawl her way to the "party". As we expected, the first thing to really catch her eye was the ice slide. She took her daddy's hand and said, "Come on. E's turn." (She refers to herself in the third person.)
After a few slides down the too-fast-for-mommy slide, M brought her into the Fun House, which it turns out was not so fun. Slippery floors and tight corners made it quite a workout! Then I coaxed her into the Glass House, which turned out to be the worst decision of the day. I had forgotten what it was like...barely enough room to maneuver one adult body, nevermind an adult holding a squirming toddler. The walls are mirrored, and as you turn each corner you cannot tell which way is open and which way is just your reflection. I hyperventilated at least once, and almost cried when I bumped into someone and realized that we were walking in circles. Close to the exit, there was a ramp that was glazed with ice, and the people in front of me were having a hard time navigating it. I stood at the top, wondering how to get down without dropping E or slamming into the wall at the bottom. M was yelling from the outside, "Just keep your feet together and slide down!" So I took a deep breath and did just that...we made it safely outside, where I breathed deeply made a note to never, ever, do that again. Thankfully, E didn't seem any worse for wear, but I wouldn't be surprised if that Glass House showed up in a nightmare some year down the road.
The tiny motorcycle ride was more successful. M and his brother B took E and her cousin on the slow moving baby ride, and I just loved how they looked perched on those itsy-bitsy bikes. They attracted a fair bit of attention, along with some "Awww"s from the crowd. But my hands-down favorite part of Tip-up-Town took place in a little tent labeled "Wedding Chapel". In that tent, M and I renewed our wedding vows...it was an informal, 3 minute ceremony at a makeshift altar, but it really was touching. We both teared up a little as the minister talked about life's changes and growth in our relationship. M was holding E, and she listened intently and drank from her sippy cup. We said "I do" and kissed, and got a certificate to remember the event. I love you, M, and I think that sort-of-silly experience was a nice reminder of what we mean to eachother, and what our children mean to us.