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Cottage Time

We had debated on going back to Wisconsin again after being there a few days prior, but who can pass up a trip to the cottage. After I was done with work on Saturday we loaded up the car and headed out, stopping for dinner in Taylors Falls. 

We'd been to the Drive-In once before years back. It's fun to go back just about anyplace with Meadow. The three of use shared a raspberry malt. Meadow loved it.

We ordered a kids meal for Meadow. They accidently gave us chicken strips and then brought out a hamburger for us. She ate the whole thing. We also opted for carrots instead of fries and she ate one carrot.

We arrived late the night before and went to bed almost immediately after we got there. The next morning we got up early to head to our favorite restaurant.

I don't know if it's our favorite, but it's definitely a classic.

We all got up before eight for the 40 minute drive to Paul Bunyan's in Minocqua.

Blake brought his friend Justin who was new to the Cook Shanty.

On the way there I told everyone not to be tempted by the doughnuts because they fill you up and you don't eat as much of the other food.

I disregarded this advice and ate mine as soon it came to the table.

Besides the doughnuts, the kielbasa is probably the best item on the menu.

Medaow dug into the eggs and pancakes like a champ.

My dad requested three of the horns: one for the boys and one for Meadow.

Meadow knew she looked cute in hers and smiled whenever we put it on her.

Meadow was still eating so my mom said to wait here for 10 minutes while she got a head start at the gift shop.

We all figured that would give her enough time to get a head start.

Momma Gail still ended up being the last one to leave the gift shop.

This is Meadow's third time meeting Paul Bunyan. 

A sign said "KEEP OFF" but I figured a baby couldn't hurt. 

I didn't think she was about to break anything.

Notice her left hand. My parents bought her a little bracelet. 

Then of course we had to go to our favorite antique store in Minocqua.

We always end up stopping at Gaslight Square Antiques for more than an hour. One vendor has an insane collection of records for sale.

Meadow wanted this horse, but I reminded her that she has one at home.

I still haven't found the stein of my dreams, but we did pick up something for Meadow.

We brought our kayaks because Blake said they were bringing theirs. Mine feels so junky compared to Justin's.

Ours were a hundred bucks a pop. We got them to test our enthusiasm for kayaking. Now we really want something in the 10 to 13 foot range.

We found this awesome toy at the antique store for Meadow: Playskools Vactionland. Blake and I couldn't wait to get home to play.

Some parts are a little small so she'll have to wait a few more years to play.

I had my parents watch Meadow while we embarked on a kayak adventure.

Our little kayaks had a hard time keeping up with the other guys.

I was quickly far behind my kayaking compadres. Brooke was even kicking my butt.

I had always thought this was some kind of weed, but I got a nice lesson on how to harvest and prepare wild rice. 

I knew it wasn't a "weed," but it was cool to learn that we are surrounded by all of this wild rice. A few minutes later we saw two men harvesting rice in their canoe.

We eventually made it to the river and as much as I wanted to keep  going I knew getting back was going to be hard. We let the current push us back for awhile.

Blake and Justin took their time on the way back.

This is where our small boats kicked butt. The lightness of them allowed us to float faster.

Blake found  a few giant egg sacks while coming back. He thought that they were possibly mayfly eggs. Anybody have a better guess?

Scott and I got a head start and the guys still caught up to us.

I saw a small boat coming our way and I thought it might be Mr. Mike. It turned out he came to meet us after getting Meadow to bed.

Blake and I leeched on for a ride. My hands were getting blisters and my wrists were hurting so I got a ride back.

I pushed through. By the time I was back my upper arms were on fire.

Meadow wished she had come.

No one knew what to make for dinner after all this. I threw together some garlic, broccoli and green beans with pasta and called it a meal. Momma Gail made a salad and everyone seemed happy enough.

I also made tomatillo salsa.

After Meadow went to bed Blake and Justin played some campfire songs for us.

Our upper bodies were killing us. I did some stretches which seemed to help a lot. 

Everyone had their omelettes except Justin and I. I made mine by adding the filling after the outside had set and then folded. The Romeneskos all thought I was weird. Isn't that how you make an omelette?

Last night when we were sitting out by the fire a truck stopped in front of our driveway and then sped off. I spotted cigarette butts on the road. 

While Scott made ice cream, Meadow and I went for a walk in the woods with the guys. Blake showed Justin all the cool spots. Like this old pile of logs left behind during the logging days. 

And this random old car. We took my Grandpa back her a few years ago and he said it was a Model A Ford. 

There were so many mushrooms around. Blake said there are 1,000 different kinds and only 200 are  known to be edible.

I got quite the nature lesson on our walk.

This is Meadow's new smile.

I wonder if she learned this from my sunny day grimace?

I convinced my dad to take us for a boat ride, but first I had pizza dough to make.

A few of us took beers along for the ride. I've never had Capital's Dark, but this a great lager. It's the kind of beer that's perfect at a beer garden or a boat ride.

My dad let Meadow drive and she thought it was the best thing in the world.

We stopped at the island too of course.

We told Blake to walk across the sand bar.

The cool grandpa walked on a downed tree.

Am I the only person who hates when podunks scribble their name on trees or sandstone cliffs?

Meadow didn't want to leave.

There is no better waste of gasoline than a good boat ride.

Back at home we decided to let everyone make their own pizza.

I need to convince my dad to build a pizza oven outside.

He could build it into the back of the fire place that's been promised all these years.

The strawberry ice cream I made was a big hit. Everyone left the cottage except Meadow, Brooke and I. It's not quite as fun without a crowd.

Meadow wouldn't let me do dishes.

Now that everyone had gone we watched some Mad Men after Meadow went to sleep.

The next morning we tried out the waffle pan I got my dad for Father's Day.

Without the family to entertain us we just played down by the lake.

She kept wanting to play in the water.

I think I need a bigger kayak. The back end is dipping pretty far into the water.

There's a new natural foods store, TreeHuggers Organics, in Three Lakes that we thought we would check out. 

Some of their produce was grown in the Three Lakes Winery's garden. I hope this place gets enough business and stays open.

Baker's is nice little grocery store, but it's produce selection is lacking.

Back at home I put Meadow's swimsuit on, but then she didn't want to go in the water.

She's always on her own mission.

She just wanted to crawl really close to the edge of the dock.

I always have to wash our car when we are up here.

My favorite summer at the cottage meal. Fish tacos and corn on the cob.

The only problem is that you have to watch for the tiny fish bones.

Meadow has been walking a little more each day. She does really well when she's distracted or holding a toy.

The next morning the weather looked promising. I let Meadow play down by  the lake again before we headed out.

The wind started to blow in from the lake. So much for shorts.

Meadow didn't seem to mind a breeze.

We were going to leave before she napped, but she was getting cranky. I worked on my painting in the meantime. 

We decided to take Military Road to Wisconsin 70 as a change of pace. Later I would regret taking the scenic route.

As kids we used to bike down Military Road because my mom said it went to Green Bay. As I got older I realized that couldn't be right as the road went north. Apparently she was right.

You guys were just heading the wrong direction on the road.

A little after Hayward we got caught in the first major storm that we passed. I had to pull over because I couldn't see and then it started hailing golf ball size hail. I'm surprised our windsheild didn't crack.

At this point I wish he had taken US 8 instead. Now we have a dozen or so dents from the hail.

As we got to Taylors Falls another storm hit us. It was so dark we could only see when lightening would strike. I had never been in a storm where the radar was purple. 


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