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Brian Gotter: Welcome Back, Gotter

Two weeks with family

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I have been on vacation for the past two weeks and enjoyed every second.  I have not had 2 weeks off in a row since before high school.  I took a week off when both Ali and Austin were born, but that is not a's exhausting with a newborn.  So what was I doing?  I was busy doing projects around the house that I wanted to get off my list, spent quality time with the kids and Tina, celebrated Ali's 6th birthday, went boating and jet skiing,  had family visiting for a week so took them around Milwaukee and went to Door County for a weekend ...those are just a few things that I did.


Wednesday: I built Ali's trampoline with Tina.  It was her birthday gift from her grandparents.  They owe us... they could have at least built it.  haha  We happened to pick the hottest and most humid day of the summer.  What were we thinking?  To cool down we spent the rest of the day at the Grafton Pool , my first time there.  Ali was so excited to show me the waterslide and how she jumps off the diving board.  Austin loves the water.


Thursday: I did a few small projects around the house and then we went to the pool for Ali's birthday party.  She wanted a swimming party and we were worried about the weather for months.  It ended up being sunny and very hot..perfect for a pool party.  My job was to take care of Austin while all the girls had fun.  Ali said it was a girls only party, but Austin and I could be there.  I was so excited to be there..I have never missed one of Ali's parties.  Austin and I had a blast in the water all afternoon.


Ali and I played on her new trampoline when we got home .  It was hot so we put a sprinkle underneath it to stay cool and splash in the water.  We then went out for the evening ...dinner and shopping.  Ali wanted Carrabba's Italian in Brookfield, her favorite restaurant.  That was followed by a trip to Toys R Us and then to the Mall.  We got home very late and we were all exhausted, but what a family day!


Friday:  It was a day to get Austin back on his nap schedule after two long days at the pool.  I got a few more small projects done and played with Ali on her trampoline.  Then it was time for the big event ...Ali was getting her ears pierced.  That was one of the things she wanted for her birthday. She was a bit nervous, but did not cry when both ears were pierced at he same time.  I don't think she took a breath for about 20 seconds as she waited for the stinging to go away.  You may have heard a loud scream around 2:30 that day.  That was me shouting "don't hurt my baby!"  hahaha!  She looked incredible. 

Friday night was relaxing at home with the kids and Michael Fish and his new bride, Trinity.  Ali was so excited to show off her new earrings.  Once the kids went to bed, we fired up the grill, relaxed and caught up since we had not been together since the wedding.  I shared a few stories from that day that they had not heard about ...especially embarrassing one's involving me like losing my tie just before pictures ...that got a huge laugh, but man was I stressed that day.


Saturday: Got a few more projects done early in the morning and then Ali played outside before going to lunch and a movie..we had father-daughter time.  We went  to see Cars 2 and had a great afternoon together.  I went golfing with my buddy Paul in the late afternoon and was planning on taking Ali, but she was getting very tired after a busy week so she stayed home.  After golf, we had friends over for a fire and fun... it was a perfect night for a fire after a beautiful evening of golf.


Sunday:  Ali and I went golfing in the morning... man can she hit the ball!  We came home and it was a family day outside.  We were in the backyard all afternoon playing on the trampoline (I was getting in great shape from all the jumping... that thing is so much fun and Ali just laughs and laughs!), the inflatable waterslide was up and Austin just loves his swing. 

Tina and I decided to have a date night and went to dinner and then went to see Harry Potter ...that movie was outstanding and the best movie I have seen in years!  We have not been to an adult movie in a long time, but have seen every animated movie with Ali over the past 3 years things change.


Monday:   I spent the morning tackling my last and biggest project...waterproofing the deck.  The kids and Tina played in the backyard while I worked in the sun.  It took a long time, but was so happy to have that project finished.  Tina had plans the rest of the afternoon and evening with friends so it was just me, Ali and Austin...and they survived.  We walked to the park (Ali rode her bike) where Ali plays her baseball games.  She played on the huge swingset before her game...Austin had fun as well.  Tina met up with us for a bit before she went back out with her friends.  Ali had a great game with two big hits and then we headed home for dinner and a movie.  Once the kids were in bed, I worked around the house and even washed my truck at 10pm ...that was a first, but it was so nice out that I did not want to go inside.


Tuesday:  One of the best days in a long time.  Fish and Trinity invited us out to Fish's parents lake house on Green Lake.  It was the perfect day with no clouds, a light breeze, low humidity and highs in the 80s.  The water was warm and we had the best day.  We swam in the lake, took the kids on the jet skis and just relaxed on the dock all day.  Ali and Austin could not get enough of the water.  We washed up around 7pm and took a boat ride around the lake before stopping for dinner at a restaurant on the water.  The kids were outstanding and we were still sitting outside after 10pm and Austin was still all smiles and laughing.  The 5 mile boat ride home in the dark was incredible with all the stars... it was so dark away from the big city lights.  Ali is all about stars right now and loved seeing all of them and the Milky Way Galaxy.  It was a late night, but had to head home because Tina's mom and stepdad were arriving from Florida the next day.  Ali and Austin were sleeping within seconds after we left the lake house and we were home by 12:30.  We can't thank Fish and Trinity enough for a perfect day on the water ...we had been trying to do this for years.


Wednesday:  It was a rainy day and I finished the few remaining indoor projects that were on my list before my in-laws, Ralph and Evie, arrived and the fun begins.... seriously.  We all have a great time together and we miss them so much.   It was a stormy evening so we all relaxed at the house and watched the lightning.  The kids would not sleep because it was loud outside, but that was an incredible light show.


Thursday: We did some sightseeing around Milwaukee and took the Miller Brewery Tour since Ralph and Evie had never been there before.  After that we strolled around the 3rd Ward and had a nice dinner.  They all wanted to take a boat ride through downtown on the river, but Austin was not allowed to go since they did not have small enough life vests.  So, Austin and I chilled at a table along the river while they all went for a ride.  It was humid, but what a great night to relax along the Milwaukee River.


Friday-Sunday: Tina's aunt, Andrea, from New Jersey arrived at noon on Friday for her first visit to Milwaukee.  She had not met Austin yet and we had not seen her since we were all in New York City for a family wedding almost 2 years ago.  Andrea is Evie's younger sister and is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet.  Friday was Ali's 6th birthday and we went for a great lunch at Botana's.  They sang to Ali and she got to wear a huge sombrero.  The rest of the day was at home celebrating Ali's 6th birthday and we hung out in the backyard with the family. 
Now we had to decide what to do for the weekend.  Andrea lives in the NYC metro area and loves art and culture and wanted to see Chicago's museums, but since Evie and Ralph go there every time they visit us, they wanted to try something different... Door County.  All the hotels were booked, obviously, but we got extremely lucky.  Our friend's parents have a place in Fish Creek and this was the first weekend they were not using it this summer and offered their beautiful 4 bedroom condo to all of us.  Everyone was very excited and it ended up being the perfect weekend.  We left early Saturday morning and got home late Sunday night.  Andrea also loves nature, water, hiking, shopping and great food...everything Door County offers.  Evie, Andrea and Ralph loved everything about Door County and want to go back again next year.  We did a lot in 2 days, but there is so much more to do and see.  The food at every restaurant was outstanding and I am craving The White Gull Inn's cherry stuffed french toast...voted the best breakfast in the U.S..


Monday:  The last day of family fun and we thought about spending a long day in Chicago, but we decided to stay in Milwaukee since we were all tired from the weekend.  Ali and Austin had been pushed and pushed but were awesome like always and just kept going.  We took Andrea to the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum, which she thought was absolutely breathtaking.  This is a lady used to NYC, and she was so impressed with the museum and Milwaukee's downtown ...very impressed.  We had lunch at Harbor House on the water and then took Ali to the Children's Museum before heading back up to Cedarburg so the ladies could walk around downtown and do some shopping.  We were all exhausted from a busy few days and just relaxed and talked while we had fruit and cheese and crackers for dinner along with our Cedar Creek Winery wine.  It was a great way to end a wonderful visit and to end my time off with my family.


It was tough to leave the kids and Tina on Tuesday morning to go back to work after all that time together.  Ali was very sad to see me leave and there were many times the past few weeks that she said she loved me being home all the time and wanted me to stay home.  This time with Austin was priceless.  He learned to say Dada and I had so much quality time with him.  I took a week off when he was born, but after that I worked 6 days a week for 3 straight months.  I feel like I missed so much, but this made up for it.  He is growing up so fast, as is Ali and this time with them was priceless... especially in the middle of summer.  We do stories on the news about stay at home dads and I see why so many men are staying home.  To you and all the stay at home mom's out there, congratulations for being able to do that and enjoy every moment of your child's life.  It is exhausting, but so worth it.  I will cherish this time I had with them forever.


It is great to be back at work and forecasting the weather, but I did not miss shaving or wearing ties.  Ali did tell me that my beard is getting very gray...perfect!

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