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A Long 4th of July Weekend

I biked to work and had Scott pick me up so we could leave immediately for the long weekend. On the way we stopped for dinner near the Wisconsin/Minnesota border.

We saw a Mexican place on U.S. 8 and when we turned picked another. Chiko's was pretty good. I had a good torta and Brooke had fish tacos. Only they had tartar sauce on them.

We were a few miles from the cottage when, typical, Scott was pulled over for speeding. Since he only gets pulled over once a year he usually gets away with a warning.

I'm that good. Besides I was driving slow the rest of the way. Of course they'd catch me at that one moment I was blazing a trail for the cottage.

We were the first ones to arrive. Scott made strawberry pancakes for breakfast.

From the box with Costco organic strawberries.

Meadow and I wanted to go fishing, but Brooke had other plans.

I was more excited to go for a bike ride. 

We biked all of Chicken in the Woods to a nearby National Forest campground.

Typical cottage food, frozen pizza.

It'll do pig.

Chelsea said they were leaving Friday morning. It was late afternoon and no one had arrived yet. I called around to see when everyone else was coming.

Apparently Meadow and I aren't entertaining enough. She pretty much reads books all day no matter who's here anyways.

Sorry Scott I see you all the time, it's more fun with other people.

Turns out Chelsea was only 1 minute away. Baby Harvey was not happy when I held him, but was fine with Scott.

It's because I'm goofy looking.

Meadow wanted to take Harvey for a ride.

I was excited to get my swim on.

With Nolan here, Meadow is much braver in the water.

Eating strawberries in the water.

Where's Blake when you need him. I guess we can just pretend we are Blake and sit in the water.

I saw the neighbors had brought out their kites. I tried ours, but it wasn't windy enough.

Every time Meadow rides her bike she quits  as soon as she sees the swingset.

At least she has her swinging partner this time.

A couple weeks ago I asked Meadow who her best friend was and she surprisingly said Nolan.

Ah, he's a good guy.

Nolan rode Meadow's bike more than she did.

Then Meadow had me read ALL the books. Harvey joined too.

For dinner Uncle Dan made us all gyros. Good stuff.

Then Meadow got to open her gift from Chelsea.

Her very own ballet shoes! These were the smallest sizes available and they are still too big for her tiny feet.

She also got a real tutu! Meadow was pretty excited. 

It must've been dock o'clock.

Looks like Meadow wanted to sit with them.

Chelsea and I took our littles out on a kayak ride. We didn't realize until talking to Dan later that we had witnessed a loon steal a mother ducks duckling. I didn't know loon's were so mean or that they could swim under water for long periods.

Dan and I attempted to catch fish, but struck out. 

So, instead we sat by the fire. Well, at least, until I gave up.

I woke up later than the rest of the clan to some delectable biscuits and gravy.

Blake showed up late on Friday night along with his new canoe. He had purchased this from an auction in Grand Marais for only $37.

He had to patch a few holes with a fiberglass kit.

Harvey was a ready for a day on the water.

I think Nolan needs a balance bike.

We all played while the canoe patch dried.

Meadow was going further and further out. She couldn't let her cousin show her up.

Scott always picks on me for reading or knitting while I'm at the cottage saying I can do these things at home. Except that I don't do them at home because the cottage is meant for relaxing.

I'm pretty sure you do those things at least a few times a week. I only make fun of her because she gives me crap every time I fish and don't catch something.

Blake restrung Meadow's guitar for us. Soon she was singing songs.

Mr. Mike built a rack of sorts so Blake wouldn't scratch up the roof of his truck.

I wish we had a photo of how he had it attached. Pretty hilarious. 

After Blake patched up the holes we helped him give his hull a good cleaning.

Reflections. That's what I like to see.

We were finally ready to test it out. I think I was the most excited.

Blake and I were the first ones to try her out.

I followed along with the kayak.

This area seems to get busier and busier every year with more people buying land. I didn't think I would get across with all the fast boats going by.

We escaped from the hectic waters to our calm corner of Dog Lake.

I gave the canoe a test run with Meadow. She was a good paddler, good thing we got her a canoe paddle for her birthday.

Meadow would call this the tallest mountain ever.

My dad wanted a try too.

Dan hit it out of the park on Saturday night. Freaking crunchwrap supremes!

 I had no idea what they were when Chelsea planned the meal list. So easy and so good. 

Immediately after dinner we headed to the ski show.

Meadow and Nolan mostly played during the show.

Chelsea bought the kids raffle tickets for baked goods. Meadow's ticket won so we made Blake go up. As he was running up the announcer said, "It looks like the winner is the suburban lumberjack". Too bad he actually lives in the woods.


Blake picked these s'more brownies that were so good. I searched and could not find an exact recipe anywhere.

This was pretty great except for the annoying announcers. Next time I'll bring ear plugs.

When we got back Dan and I did little more fishing.

We each took home a healthy bluegill. This was a good chance to practice cleaning the fish.

At night Blake did his annual fireworks show.

Isn't this more like quarterly or semi-annual?

Today was our day for cooking. Since we are usually the last to wake up I roasted the potatoes the night before. I woke up with a horrible migraine so Scott had to take over for breakfast.

I had to pick up the slack.

I wanted to take Blake's canoe to a different lake, but apparently I was the only one who thought this was a good idea.

I would've. I think Blake didn't want to put it back on his car until the end of the weekend.

 Instead the three of us canoed to Crystal Creek. I don't know why Meadow gets so antsy, it's nice having other people paddle for you.

We took a detour through the lily pads.

I can't believe we've went all these years without a canoe (or now two).

The scenery is nice, but I should have brought my book.


We thought my mom would love this. They filled an old rowboat with flowers.

Scott was tired so we swapped.

I was just worried I'd be sore the next day. Apparently kayaking is more of a workout.

It was so much calmer over here without all the speedboats and jet skis.

It was getting warm so I opened up the umbrella.

Blake wanted to check out this forest.

It just led to a field with a creepy shack. Can you spot it?

And lots of sharp shrubbery and ticks.

Our canoe wouldn't fit down the creek anymore so we turned around.

Instead of just chilling I provided sustenance to Brooke and Blake.

We had passed this plane on the way to the creek and back. It finally flew overhead as we approached home.

We got back just in time to go for a boat ride.

Scott and Blake sat this one out.

I had to make dinner.

This new cabin being built has a small original boat house. Makes me wonder what was torn down to build this montrostity.

Hey, that'a beautiful McCabin.

There were party boats everywhere.

When they got back Meadow wanted swim again. Nolan sure makes her braver.

For dinner we made stuffed bell peppers with quinoa. Everyone was weirded out except Blake. "Where's the meat?"

Meadow liked the quinoa and cheese, but wouldn't eat the peppers.

The only time to kayak is at sundown when all the boaters and jet skiers are gone.

It's also the best time to fish. Apparently Blake knows where are all the bluegills hide at dusk.

Parade time. Next year we are biking.

We say that every year.

Our annual breakfast donuts.

Meadow was super crabby from getting up early. She didn't even finish her donut.

There's my little crab apple.

Meadow wasn't awake enough yet to run for the candy. Blake had to help her out and the nice older girl sitting next to us gave some to her too.

Nolan brought out the work earmuffs to drown out the sirens.

Meadow was unfazed by the sirens. City girl.

Meadow probably just wanted to eat some candy at this point, but the parade just went on.

Next year I want to go Eagle River to change things up.

No bloody mary's, hardly any flea market. We ditched this popsicle stand early.

And then I was blamed for ditching Gail. Only it was Brooke's decision.

Blake and I decided we were going to try water skiing this year. We both failed completely. Should have watched you tube videos beforehand.

It also seems that today's water skis are much wider.

When we got back we made some nachos from all of our leftovers.

These guys are little patriots. Yay, nationalism.

The rest of the day was spent on the lake.

Meadow just loves jumping in the water. She doesn't want to walk out, but throw her in and she's a-okay

With everyones fish that was caught over the last few days and what was in the freezer we had dinner.

Gail made some killer potato salad. This meal was the best of the whole weekend. I just love some good fresh fried fish.

At dusk it was time for fireworks.

A wicked hola hooper entertained us before the big show.

I was so proud that Meadow watched the whole show and didn't want to look the other way. She's getting so grown up.

And she didn't get scared this year.

Then we had our last fire for the weekend.

And a few more fireworks courtesy of Blake.

The next morning my dad had to leave for work early. When I woke up I realized we left Meadow's car seat in his van. He didn't notice either until he was almost home. Scott drove to the nearest Wal-Mart to pick up a new one for her.

It turned out OK. We're going to have another tiny tyke one of these days anyways. Meadow was so excited when we showed her, her big kid seat. She'll be using it until she's 18.

Meanwhile, Chelsea and I made Oreo Pull Apart Bread for breakfast.

Since I had Tuesday off we decided to stop at a state park on the way home. We chose Council Grounds. We both heard this was a cool park. I have no idea where that came from, the park was tiny.

It was nothing special, but its always great to see the Wisconsin River wind through its namesake state.

Meadow loved this chair.

For some reason she didn't want to sleep on this stump.

Since the park was so small we decided to bike the whole thing.

Damn dams.

Before leaving we did some swimming.

This was a great swimming hole.

Even if it's just a stone's throw from that dam.

Meadow seemed braver without her water wings.

I think she just had built up a tolerance over the weekend.

We drove down to Abbotsford before beelining to Minneapolis. We were going to stop at a diner, but then I saw that there was a Mexican joint in town, La Riviera Mexican Restaurant

This was actual Mexican food, not the Americanized fair so common in small towns everywhere. The torta I had on the way was good, but this was great.

The food was so good. I couldn't believe we were the only ones there.

The rest of the drive home brought us into a crazy thunderstorm.

The lightning was like nothing we've ever seen.

When we got home we had no power.



Unknown said…
I love your blogs. I feel like I'm there with you. Which do you prefer, for families, a canoe or the kayaks?
Canoe's are much better for our family for sure. That's why we ended buying one this summer. We can pack in everything we need and comfortably fit the two of us plus Meadow (and any other future offspring.

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