My family enjoyed a weekend together in Dubuque, Iowa, during the first weekend of August. We were celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary a bit early. Sitting in front are my parents, Lois and Arvin Vander Plas. My sister, Jennifer Good, and her kids, Taylor, Timothy and Tori, are behind my mother. I am standing in the center. My brother, Arvin, his wife, Annette, and their children, Allison and Joshua, are behind my dad. We are missing my niece, Katelyn, and my brother-in-law, Tim, who could not join us that weekend.
My family enjoyed a weekend together in Dubuque, Iowa, during the first weekend of August. We were celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary a bit early. Sitting in front are my parents, Lois and Arvin Vander Plas. My sister, Jennifer Good, and her kids, Taylor, Timothy and Tori, are behind my mother. I am standing in the center. My brother, Arvin, his wife, Annette, and their children, Allison and Joshua, are behind my dad. We are missing my niece, Katelyn, and my brother-in-law, Tim, who could not join us that weekend.

As my parents’ golden wedding anniversary approached, they decided they would prefer a long- weekend family vacation instead of a big anniversary open house. Even though their anniversary isn’t until later in September, we all agreed going away in August would be easier than finding a free weekend after the kids went back to school and got involved in fall sporting events.

Mom and Dad suggested going to Dubuque, Iowa, as they had wanted to tour the Mississippi River museum and aquarium that is located there.

So, my parents and I, along with my nephew, Taylor, who had been spending the week visiting in Minnesota, drove to Dubuque where we met my sister, Jennifer, and her other two kids, Timothy and Tori. My brother and sister-in- law, Arvin and Annette, drove down from Mankato with their children, Allison and Joshua, for the weekend.

My niece, Katelyn, had already planned a trip to Washington to visit her fiancé and was unable to join us as was my sister’s husband, Tim. We missed them, but were grateful everyone else had been able to adjust their schedules to fit the trip in.

By the time we had all gathered, it was time for supper on Friday night and we opted for Texas Roadhouse, which provided us with a lovely meal and time to go over our plans for the weekend. There were several ideas for activities, but we also wanted time to relax and enjoy being together as a family.

While I plan to highlight a few of the activities more in depth over the next few weeks, our itinerary included quite a few sites in and around Dubuque. On Saturday, we spent the day watching boats and barges go through the lock and dam; enjoying a ride up the Fenelon Place Elevator; and taking a drive through Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa so my niece could say she had been in three states within one hour. We spent the afternoon touring the museum and aquarium, had a family dinner and returned to the hotel for swimming and anniversary cake.

On Sunday, we took a two-hour lunch cruise on the Spirit of Dubuque and went to Dyersville, Iowa, to the Field of Dreams and the National Toy Museum.

It was a beautiful weekend and it was a great way to celebrate family and to honor my parents on their golden wedding anniversary. They told us how proud they were of each and every one of us, but it is because of them that we are who we are today . . . whether or not they are willing to accept the blame or credit.